“The biggest thing was stepping down to really take care of myself,” Stewart said on Monday. “You know I looked up and thought ‘We have a lot of things to do here,' Things that I could do when I was 30.”
After coaching at Meadowdale for 13 seasons, Stewart left the Lynnwood-based school to take on the task of rebuilding a Garfield program that had just nine wins in the previous nine seasons. That was a big change for Stewart, who had led the Mavericks to the playoffs nine times and guided seven teams to the state playoffs.
This past season, Stewart and the Bulldogs struggled to a 1-8 overall record and went winless in the tough Kingco 4A-Crown Division.
“(The Garfield job) had more challenges than I first thought,” Stewart said. “I wish I had had a crystal ball to see it before I took the job.”
Stewart, 54, cited personal health issues as part of his decision-making process — “Basically I need to lose 40 pounds,” Stewart joked — and the extra commute. Stewart lives in South Everett, so the daily trip to Garfield, which is located in downtown Seattle, more than doubled his commute time.
Stewart, who is still currently teaching at Garfield, is hoping to find an assistant coaching job for the upcoming season, but said that he's not interested in being a head coach right now.
“Part of this was stepping down as a head coach,” Stewart said.
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