May 21, 2010 9:28:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Coaching two soccer programs, owning a business and having five children is quite a challenge.
One end is going to get the short end of attention and Artie Cosby experienced that during his first season leading Starkville Academy''s soccer teams.
After one season, Cosby confirmed Thursday he''s relinquished his post at Starkville Academy to spend more time with his wife and children.
It''s a decision that weighed on Cosby, especially after leading the boys team to an undefeated regular season record and No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
"In all honesty, it was tough," Cosby said. "I really got attached to a lot of those kids. I have a big family and I just really felt like that''s where my priorities are. Trying to do both of those programs takes up a lot of time."
Cosby led the Lady Volunteers to a 7-7 overall mark and 7-4 conference clip last fall, guiding the team to the Mississippi Independent School Association Class AAA semifinals.
The Starkville Academy boys finished 10-1 overall, losing to Jackson Prep at home in the first round of the playoffs.
While coaching the Vols in the winter, Cosby was in charge of a varsity and junior varsity squad. That''s when he began to feel the strain of juggling family, work and coaching.
"You''ve got two teams and you want to do quality work with both of them," Cosby said. "There''s just a lot that goes into coaching and when you have a business and five kids from ages four to 14, something''s got to give. I owe this time to my family."
Cosby will be replaced by Olive Branch head coach Robert Gardner, though Starkville Academy athletic director Glenn Schmidt said Gardner isn''t expected to sign a contract until next week. However, she doesn''t foresee a hang-up in Gardner being officially introduced as Cosby''s replacement.
Schmidt declined to fully comment on the hire until the contract is signed.
Gardner, a Mississippi State graduate, is returning to Starkville to pursue a graduate degree at MSU. He''s currently a full-time teacher at Olive Branch but will not teach courses at Starkville Academy.
The news of Gardner, who coached a U12 recreation team and U13 Select team in Starkville, as his successor put Cosby at ease about his decision to leave the program.
"He already knows some of these kids and he took some player who didn''t have a lot of skill and had them playing good soccer," Cosby recalled of Gardner. "(Starkville Academy) has got a good coach coming in. I would have been more concerned if they couldn''t get a quality coach in."
Leaving the program in good hands was comforting to Cosby, but after a year of building relationships with dozens of players he''s going to miss continuing to build the soccer and developing the talent.
"Obviously, there are a lot of good memories from this year," Cosby said. "It was a neat experience being a part of these seniors'' final year. I''m going to miss not being a part of the success that''s ahead of the talented kids who are coming back. I love the game and I''m going to miss it big time."