Western High School is in need of a new football coach.
Nate Andrews is leaving the Panthers after two seasons, according to athletic director Josh Larsh.
“He told the team [Friday] that he intends to leave and take the job at NorthWood,” Larsh said.
Andrews has deep ties to the Elkhart County school. His father, Jim, was NorthWood’s coach for 20 seasons. The Indiana Football Hall of Fame member led the Panthers to 150 wins before his death in a car crash in 1992. The school’s field is named in his honor.
Nate Andrews played for NorthWood and was an Indiana North-South All-Star in 1996. He also was a state champion in wrestling. He went on to play football at Ball State.
Larsh said he understands Andrews’ decision.
“The draw of going home [is strong]. I think it’s his dream job and an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up,” Larsh said.
Andrews did not return a call for comment Friday night.
NorthWood has a rich tradition of success highlighted by its 2005 team winning the Class 3A state title. The Panthers also are four-time state runners-up.
NorthWood was 4-6 this year, its second straight season with a sub-.500 record.
Andrews has a 40-39 career record over seven seasons. He was 25-31 in five seasons at Lapel and 15-8 at Western.
This year, Western won a share of the Mid-Indiana Conference championship and reached the semifinal round of Class 3A Sectional 28 where it fell to West Lafayette 34-7 in a matchup of top-10 teams. Western closed with a 9-2 record.
Andrews replaced Alix Engle at Western and kept the Panthers going strong. Engle had a 58-23 record in seven seasons. His .716 winning percentage ranks No. 1 in school history.
Larsh said he’ll huddle with principal Rick Davis on Monday to talk about the opening.
“We don’t have a timetable in place, but we would like to secure a coach as soon as we can,” Larsh said. “The search will begin immediately for his replacement and we’ll go from there.”