Tim King announced Sunday that he will retire after 24 years as Valley Regional/Old Lyme Co-Op’s football coach. King informed his players on Sunday morning and informed GameTimeCT via text message later in the day. The 60-year old coach will also retire after 30 years as a physical education teacher.
King, who grew up in Old Lyme and played at St. Bernard, coached the program to a 153-92 record over 23 seasons, including six state playoff berths and a state championship. Valley suffered through some lean years during King’s first 10 seasons.
But the program turned a corner when the program formed a co-op with Lyme/Old Lyme High School across the Connecticut River. King’s father, George — a World War II veteran of the Battle of the Bulge — and uncle Tim Keenan both played for Old Lyme’s football program before it disbanded during World War II.
In 2010, King’s 14th season at the helm, Valley Regional/Old Lyme made its first state playoff appearance and would make five more over the next nine seasons. In 2014, VROL earned its signature victory under King — a 21-20 state championship victory over Ansonia in the Class S-Large division.
King’s playoff record was 6-5, including four semifinal appearances.
King was named the New Haven Register’s 2014 Coach of the Year and coached four Register All-State selections, including Mitchell King (2010), Chris Jean-Pierre and Justin Cheverier (2014) and Garrett Burdick (2016).
Last year, during King came under fire from his school district’s administration when parents organized an independent football club to compete during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CIAC had canceled the 2020 football season and Region 4 forbade any of its employees from participating against state Dept. of Health recommendations.
Region 4 superintendent Brian J. White requested King’s resignation or face termination due to an alleged role in organizing the club. Seventeen players from the independent team were forced into quarantine due to a potential virus exposure from a volunteer parent.
King had previously joked with The Day of New London that he was the independent club’s general manager. However, he reiterated he only watched practices and the independent team’s one game and had no official role — a point backed by the team’s organizers.
Parents, players and alumnae rallied to King’s side. A petition demanding King’s reinstatement solicited thousands of signatures before the school district backed down from the request a few days later.
This story will be updated.