Jeff Cain, Whiting's all-time winningest football coach, informed his players Monday that he will be retiring as the Oilers' coach after 24 seasons at the helm.
Cain finished his career with a 194-83 record, notching 18 winning seasons and just four losing campaigns. His deepest postseason run came in 2015 when Whiting won the semistate championship and made its first state final appearance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“We had a good run," Cain said. "I’m not talking about this year. I’m talking about as a whole. We’re pretty proud of the body of work we have left for that next group. The hope is that (the next head coach) becomes somebody that’s already within the program.”
He said his family played a big role in his decision to step aside. Cain, an industrial arts teacher, will retire from teaching in May.
“I’m old,” Cain said. “… My wife has been retired for three years. I would have been eligible (to retire) 2.5 years ago. A lot of different things. Most of it’s family. Time waits for nobody. We’re actually expecting our first two grandchildren soon and our parents are older.”
Oilers senior running back Tom Davenport confirmed Cain's retirement via Facebook Messenger on Monday night and called Cain "The GOAT."
Davenport used a goat emoji to signify GOAT, the acronym for Greatest Of All Time.
Whiting senior offensive and defensive lineman Nick Krieger also confirmed Cain's retirement in a series of tweets.
Proud of coach Cain and his career. Touched many peoples hearts! 💚 always bleed green and white— Kriegdaddy 🏈🐳 (@krieger78) December 3, 2018
"Proud of coach Cain and his career. Touched many peoples hearts!" said Krieger, who uses the Twitter handle @krieger78. "always bleed green and white."
The Oilers averaged 35.8 points per game in 2015 and even though they finished as the runner-up in the Class 2A state championship game, losing 33-6 to Monrovia, their 13 wins are a school record.
Before Cain's debut in 1995, Whiting had won only one IHSAA championship — a sectional title in 1993. Whiting did however win mythical state titles in 1948 and 1954. In just his second campaign, Cain led the Oilers to their second sectional championship and first regional title.
The success was not short-lived. Throughout his 24 years, Cain guided Whiting to its only semistate championship, three regional titles and five sectional championships. In Cain's final season, Whiting defeated Boone Grove in the sectional title game and finished the year 12-1.
He also won The Times Coach of the Year award in 2015 during the state runner-up season.
Cain's teams were especially dominant in recent years — going 72-12 since 2012 — and he credited his staff for a lot of his success.
“I’ve had great assistants, great coordinators and I always thought, and this goes back a long time, every year I had two or three guys who are good enough to be head coaches at any moment," Cain said. "To me, that is what has kind of set us apart, when you get those quality assistants in place.”
Prior to his retirement, Cain was 20th on the list of winningest active coaches in Indiana with 194 career wins. Among the top 20 winningest current coaches, Cain's career winning percentage of .700 ranked 11th.
"Saturday through Thursday, the leading up and the every day with the kids, the every day with the coaches, those probably more than even the Friday night competition, that’s (what I’ll miss),” Cain said.