Steve George, who coached Newtown to an unprecedented run of six-consecutive state playoff berths, has resigned as the Nighthawks head coach after 10 seasons.
George was a member of Newtown’s 1992 state championship team (alongside Masuk coach Joe Lato) and ultimately returned to the program as an assistant under Ken Roberts. He took over for Roberts in 2007 and won 95 games against just 20 losses.
George, 41, cited a desire to spend time with his growing family.
“Well, my children are getting older, I have three of them (ages 9, 6 and 3) with another on the way,” he said. “I’ve got to worry about my kids getting older and I don’t want to miss anything that they’re doing. And, with my wife expecting our fourth, that’s a lot of pressure to put on her.
“Plus, I’m tired. This was my 18th year coaching and that’s a long time. I haven’t had a summer off yet.”
George never had a losing season at Newtown. His first team went 7-4, which was his lowest season win total in 10 years. After reaching the 2008 Class LL semifinals, Newtown went to six-straight state playoffs between 2011 and 2016. The Nighthawks reached the semifinals in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Beginning in 2012’s 21-14 upset of Masuk at Blue and Gold Stadium, George’s teams won four SWC championships, earning three more titles in 2013, 2014 and 2016. His teams finished unbeaten in the regular season four times, including this year.
“This was a really fun year,” he said. “The administration has been great and supportive. The kids have worked their asses off and deserved everything they got over the years. But, for me, it was time to go. Hopefully, they’ll continue to do the same for the next guy who comes in.”
Newtown finished SWC runners-up in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2015.
One of George’s best victories as coach came during a non-conference game at Blue and Gold in October 2014. Newtown ended Ansonia’s bid to tie Cheshire’s state-record win streak of 49 games with a 14-8 victory.
Overall, George coached four New Haven Register All-State first-team players, Lou Fenaroli (2011), Dan Hebert (2012), Julian Dunn (2013-2014) and Ben Mason, the newly-crowned Gatorade State Player of the Year, who was all-state in 2014 and 2015. Mason and offensive lineman Seth Willis are likely all-state selections for this season.
George also helped navigate the players through unwanted national scrutiny following the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. His whiteboard message for visiting President Barack Obama became one of the symbols of the pain and grief the community has suffered through.
Myself an pattison left a note to president Obama on my board and he responded!! Here is his response. pic.twitter.com/glWsHDCb
— Steven George (@newtownfootball) December 17, 2012