“I’m a father, and at a point in my life where there are some transitions that I need to make,” teacher and former head football coach Matt Buha said.
It was announced that head football coach and physical education teacher Matt Buha had resigned from his coaching position effective immediately on Nov. 4. Buha will continue to teach until the end of the school year.
Buha mentioned that there was a push (administrative directives) factor and a pull (lack of time with his family) factor that ultimately resulted in his resignation.
The announcement came just shy of three weeks until the annual Turkey Day game played between Webster Groves and Kirkwood High School football teams. To lead and coach the Statesmen for their final football game this year, WGHS has named assistant activities director and assistant football coach Munir Prince as interim football coach.
Buha is stepping back from his position to spend more time with and focus on his family.
“My family is next. I wanna make sure I support our kids and our students for the remainder of the year,” Buha said. “I go home every night, and there’s this feeling of happiness and sadness at the same time because you’re so happy to see your kids, but then you realize you’re a day older, they are a day older.”
“I always joke with my daughter like, ‘Oh my God, I think you grew last night,’ and it’s one of those things where you just don’t wanna miss any of that,” Buha said.
The combination of coaching and teaching full-time has had its effect on how much time Buha gets to spend with his family.
“I always tell my football team about your home team, your family, and I need to spend my focus on my home team for the foreseeable future. I just don’t wanna miss- I don’t want to look back 10 years from now with my children grown and out of the house and wish for time to come back to me,” Buha said.
“My father was a college football coach, so I’ve been around the game my whole life. There is a competitive piece that I love. There is a camaraderie piece that I love, but what I noticed growing up, is that I saw 19-20-21-year-old young men and my father connecting in a way that I just, you just can’t understand,” Buha said.
“There’s a relationship there that I couldn’t wrap my mind around then, but I knew it was special, and I wanted to be a part of something like that when I got older,” Buha said.
“You just get to a spot in your life where you have to make really awful, well not awful, but awfully difficult decisions to really highlight what it is you stand for and value. This was just one of those situations,” Buha said.
“I have two young kids at home that I rarely see throughout the course of the week because of the demands of the job,” Buha said.
“The Xs and Os, what happened on the football field, that’s got no, that had no impact on the decision I made,” Bhua said.
“It goes back to kids. You could call last year strange. I think that’s pretty fair to say. Half of the kids would come in in the morning and leave, then the other half would come in. This year’s more normal, and the school is, in a positive way, it’s really busy,” Buha said.
“I see you guys all day and I see other adults rarely, so my experience has been really great because it’s been five-six hours a day of kids coming in and just working with them. I get to meet a ton of different kids with a ton of different interesting backgrounds. I’ve really enjoyed that. You guys are unique in the best possible way,” Buha said.
“I’m really proud of the work that’s been done here in the last two years. I’ve made a lot of really great relationships, and I’m certain that those relationships will carry on for a number of years after this,” Buha said.
“We came up just short in just a number of specific spots and areas throughout the course of the season that piled up and piled up and put us in a recurring situation, but it’s not a bad one. Football’s a unique sport for sure, so a play here or a miss here can dictate a season. I think our kids are incredibly courageous. I’m proud of that,” Buha said.
“I want to keep teaching; I love it. It’s the closest thing to coaching imaginable, and fortunately in here [weight room], I get to coach kids all day. That’s all it is. It’s coaching kids through things,” Buha said.
“It’s one thing that I feel like I’m good at, and you know, teaching is something that I want to make sure I continue to do. I love working with kids; I’ve never had a bad day at school in my life; I’m fortunate to say that,” Buha said.
“A thing that was interesting to me was that every kid I’ve met here really wants to be good at something. I’ve said that to a lot of different people. It might not be journalism or weights or whatever,” Buha said. “There’s something that drives all of the kids that I’ve met in this school, and there’s definitely something special about the kids here.”
“I’m really excited about it [new head coach]. There’s been a lot in a short amount of time, you know, trying to get the team ready to go for one of our biggest games of the year,” head coach Munir Prince said.
“We need to get our energy back up,” Prince said. “I think we’ll be alright.”
The annual Turkey Day game will be Thursday, Nov. 25, Thanksgiving, at Kirkwood High School from 12-4 p.m.
This week’s ECHO Podcast is introduced, outro’d and edited by podcast editor Maren DeMargel.
This will be Jackson Parks’ first year on ECHO staff, but he made several contributions while taking journalism class his sophomore year.
This will be Lydia Urice’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.