Kettering resigns as Cathedral’s soccer coach

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; For four seasons Cathedral head soccer coach Rocky Kettering told his players to take advantage of the opportunities that come to them.

Now he’s doing the same thing.

Kettering officially accepted a position as development director at Mount Vernon Elementary School in Atlanta and submitted his resignation as head coach of the three Cathedral soccer programs and development director for Cathedral School and St. Mary Basilica.

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&uot;It’s one of the top elementary schools in Atlanta, and I’ll spearhead a campaign to build a high school,&uot; said Kettering, who left a position in the Atlanta area prior to arriving at Cathedral. &uot;It’s kind of like building a soccer program like I did here. Building the high school will be a tremendous challenge and opportunity and a chance to leave a legacy. It’s 30 acres of undeveloped land right now. They’re ready to do what it takes to get the high school built.&uot;

Kettering’s departure leaves a vacancy over the entire soccer program, and school officials now have to find a new coach or coaches for both the boys’ and girls’ programs. The position of development director is a fund-raising position for both the school and the church.

But in his new position at Mount Vernon, coaching soccer won’t be additional duties Kettering will assume at the school.

&uot;It’s like being a father,&uot; Kettering said. &uot;You never know how you’ll be in that role until you are a father. Am I ready to give up coaching? It probably shouldn’t be that big of a question, but it defines who I am and helped me become a better person. I’m a better person because I coached at Cathedral. This is an opportunity to build a tradition, and tradition is what you make of it.&uot;

The program at Cathedral has grown since Kettering’s arrival &045; from one team of boys and girls to a boys’ varsity team, a girls’ team and a boys’ junior varsity team. The Green Wave has a string of playoff appearances, including a 3-2 loss to open the playoffs against perennial power West Lauderdale.

The Lady Wave squad missed the playoffs in what was a rebuilding season from the year prior.

&uot;It’s hard to walk away without a state championship because we’re capable of doing it,&uot; Kettering said. &uot;It’s kind of a bittersweet decision we’ve had to make. We love Natchez, and the Cathedral family has been supportive since Day 1. Our varsity boys’ program has won district four years in a row, and our JV program wins every year. Our girls’ program is getting better.

&uot;The effort was there on a daily basis. Part of that personal responsibility is to always improve and keep your eyes on the prize. They’re quality kids. I’ll be their No. 1 fan from now on. I just won’t be on the sideline.&uot;