After 35 years in football, the sudden resignation of Broken Arrow High School head coach Steve Spavital left lots of questions for Tiger fans.
The longtime coach spoke for the first time Tuesday about his decision to leave football behind.
"After the [Union] game, you know, I think about every kid came up and told me they loved me. That means more than anything to me," Spavital said.
Spavital was close to tears a few times at Tuesday's news conference, when he officially announced his resignation.
When "Coach Spav," as he's known, stepped down Monday afternoon, he caught a lot of people off guard. His middle linebacker, Alex Bradley, was one of them.
"I was kind of in shock. I'm really just bummed out about the guys who are coming up next year. It's hard to replace a guy who's got a legacy here," Bradley said.
Spavital said he has a stress-related medical condition. He told us, for example, the condition caused several tears in his retina, which required surgery. He insists it's nothing life threatening, but enough to force him to step down.
That's been a tough pill to swallow for his players and co-workers.
"He's a very wise man, so he's obviously going to do what's best for him," said Principal Debbie Renz. "And what's best for him is what's best for all of us, because we care about him"
The school district says the search for a new coach has already started. They hope to have the position filled by the beginning of February.
But the guys in the locker room know there won't be anyone quite like him.
"Coach Spav, he coached the same way he lives life. You know, he just put all he could into it. And that's just the type of guy he was," said senior linebacker Gyasi Akem.