MIDDLEBURY — Todd Woodworth says he’s not retiring so much as he’s “moving on to a second career.”
When he does, Northridge High School will need to move on to its second-ever boys soccer coach.
Woodworth — who started the Raider program from scratch in 1992 and has crafted it into a perennial contender — will retire as coach at the end of this season and as a teacher at the end of this school year, his 33rd with Middlebury Community Schools.
“It’s going to be difficult to leave what you’ve been doing pretty much since you left college, but the decision itself is not difficult,” Woodworth said Wednesday, Aug. 13. “I will be moving on to a second career, helping more with the family farm, my father-in-law’s farm, which is something I want to do, something I feel a responsibility to do.”
The family dairy farm is between Middlebury and Shipshewana.
Woodworth, 59, began the Raider program in the spring of ’92, a couple years before boys soccer became an IHSAA sport and in advance of it becoming a fall sport for many schools.
RECENT RAIDER RECORDS
How Northridge soccer has fared during coach Todd Woodworth’s last 10 seasons:
2004: 13-6-3 (s,r)
2005: 13-4-4 (s,r)
2006: 16-4-0 (s,r)
2007: 13-5-2 (c)
2008: 7-4-8 (c)
2009: 16-4-2 (c,s,r)
2010: 17-5-1 (s,r)
2013: 14-4-3 (s)
c: conference title. s: sectional title. r: regional title.
In 23 seasons, he has steered Northridge to a 232-139-64 record with nine sectional titles, five regional titles and four Northern Lakes Conference titles. The sectional title count is tied with Concord for most in area history and the regional count tied with Elkhart Central for most in area history.
Last fall’s Raiders went 14-4-3 with that ninth sectional title, followed by a 3-1 regional semifinal win over Penn and a physical, 1-0 title-game loss to Warsaw. Northridge’s last regional title came in 2010.
“I feel very pleased with how it’s gone over the years, and I have a lot of excitement for another season,” Woodworth said. “It just happens to be the last one.”
Woodworth, who has been married to current Goshen Community Schools superintendent Diane Woodworth for 37 years, said he’s been thinking about transitioning to full-time farming “for some time,” and made the decision to do so several months ago.
“Todd’s a class guy, a great guy, and he’s run a great program,” said Brad Duerksen, who is beginning his 18th year at NorthWood and is second to Woodworth in tenure among area boys soccer coaches. “Northridge soccer wasn’t that great when it started, but he’s turned it into one of the best programs in northern Indiana. They’re in the conference and sectional races every year.”
“He’s done an outstanding job and will be sorely missed,” eighth-year Northridge athletic director Dave Harms said of Woodworth. “We’ve always had a great working relationship. I know if he does need something, he’ll talk to me, and I know that if I would tell him something, he would get it done. He’s done a super job dealing with kids and a super job making sure things are the way they’re supposed to be.”
Harms said a search to find Woodworth’s successor has not begun.
“For one thing, he hasn’t given me anything official, so he can always change his mind, and that would be all right with me,” Harms said. “But I don’t expect that, and we’ll be putting feelers out at some point. For now, we’ll let things ride, kind of give him a farewell tour.”
Woodworth, who played soccer at Westview High and Goshen College, was among the founding fathers of the Middlebury Magic club program in the 1980s. All three of his children — Luke, Jesse and Elizabeth — played soccer growing up, with Woodworth active as a coach.
Woodworth remains an executive committee member with Elkhart County United, a soccer club that is a collaboration among the Magic, Elkhart Flames, Goshen Stars, NorthWood Pumas and several area high schools.
“We’ve been crossing paths with the ECU 7 v. 7 summer league the last few years,” Duerksen said of Woodworth, “and he’s not only been a great guy to coach against, but a great guy to just sit and talk soccer with. But I have to admit, I didn’t know he even knew anything about farming until he told me what he was planning on doing.”
Follow Anthony Anderson on Twitter @AnthonyAnders11.