BENNINGTON -- Embattled Mount Anthony Union High School football coach Bill Hay has resigned.
Hay submitted his letter of resignation in the past couple days, and the school accepted that he was stepping down, said MAU athletic director Tim Brown on Thursday night.
Hay coached at MAU for three seasons, compiling a 4-22 record, including a woeful 0-8 in 2013.
"Any coach that doesn't have success is going to question themselves," Hay said in a phone call on Thursday night. "You're always asking, ‘Am I doing things right?' I tried to make changes and adjustments, different things to get different results. When it didn't happen, it made me question myself even more."
Despite off-the-field success -- this year's team had the highest percentage of players making the honor roll in years -- the on-the-field failure took a toll.
"Not winning takes a lot out of a coach," said Brown, who has been the athletic director at MAU for more than 25 years. "The public gauges success by wins and losses, but Mount Anthony Union High School is not all about wins and losses -- it's a lot more to it. We're an educational program first.
"Bill has been an outstanding coach for many years, one of the most dedicated with the amount of time and effort he put into coaching," Brown added. "People don't understand the amount of time he puts in -- in the weight room, spring practice. It's a year-round commitment and he treats it that way.
Hay was the latest in a line of MAU football coaches -- the fourth since 2006, when Jim Fischer left after six years. Since, John Callahan coached for two years and Steve Lalonde for two and Hay for the past three. Hay's decision to leave marks the third member -- albeit the most important -- of the MAU staff to step down this year. In addition, Tom Otero and Seth Normyle also stepped away this offseason.
Mount Anthony's last state championship came in 1994.
"That's a big reason, it's not the winning, but the kids can lose confidence in the coaching staff to get them where they need to be," Hay said. "I felt we were more competitive this year, even though we didn't win any games."
In 2013, the Patriots lost to Rutland and Brattleboro by a single point and two other games were within a touchdown into the fourth quarter.
"[Some] want immediate success, but it's a process to find the recipe for success," Brown said.
This offseason, Hay said the level of excitement about the upcoming season seemed low. Player numbers have also declined in recent years.
"He was disappointed about the wins and losses and felt the program had a better chance of turning around without him at the helm," Brown said.
Despite the split, Hay said he still wants to be a part of the program in some way.
"It's what I do, I love coaching football," Hay said. "I love coaching the kids. Even if I can coach at the middle school, I would do that."
Along with coaching the varsity, Hay has been involved in the Mount Anthony Youth Athletic Association football program, as well as starting up a flag football league in an effort to get younger kids exciting about football at Mount Anthony.
Brown said he had a lot of respect for Hay's interest in sticking around.
"He wants to see it through, he's not walking away bitter," Brown said.
Brown said that no steps have been taken to fill Hay's role yet, although the school will move forward quickly to find a replacement with the season starting in August.