LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) – The longtime head football coach at Lansdale Catholic High School is calling it a career after spending more than four decades on one sideline.

Jim Algeo, 75, started as an assistant coach at Cardinal Dougherty in 1958. A 53 season coaching career and the past 44 have all come as head coach at Lansdale Catholic.

Algeo was not just a teacher on the field, but also in the classroom. He taught advanced placement economics, accounting, personal finance and marketing until retiring over the summer.

However, even though his classroom days ended, his coaching career continued until he broke the news to the school and players recently that this season would be his very last.

“You just know it’s the right time,” Algeo said. “It’s bittersweet. All things in time have to come to an end. That’s just reality.”

You can hear Tim Jimenez’s interview with Jim Algeo in this CBS Philly ‘Sports Pod’ podcast…

Algeo had actually been very close to retiring at the end of the 2010 season but was swayed when one of his players asked him to open up the weight room on a day soon after the final game of the season.

“I went in to just supervise it for them and holy smokes, there were like 25 kids there! They were all sophomores or freshmen at the time,” Algeo said. “The more it wore on me I said, ‘I’m going to come back for one more year.'”

So this 44th and final season comes to an end on Saturday as Algeo will be honored during homecoming as the Crusaders face West Catholic at Wissahickon High School. Many former players are expected to come for a final huddle.

“I’ve been to weddings, graduation parties, masses of Christian burial, the whole life cycle,” Algeo said in describing how close he is with many of his former players.

Algeo compiled a 293-182-15 record highlighted by an undefeated season in 1972 and a state championship in 2004. He also was recently inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. However, Algeo says it has never just been about the achievements on the field.

“I don’t think you coach to win championships. We constantly preach to the kids that the football field is no more than any other classroom. I think that football is a means to an end, it’s not an end in itself. It’s a great game but that’s all it is; it’s a game.”

Now, Algeo says he will have time to see some of his former players on their college teams and spend more time with his team at home.

“My wife and I have 18 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. So, we’ll be kept busy,” Algeo said.

Reported by Tim Jimenez, KYW Newsradio 1060

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