For the past 30 years, Steve Himes has been involved in competitive sports in one capacity or another, including the past 10 as Gaither's boys basketball coach.
One of the things he preached to his players was loyalty to your school, your team and, most important, your family. Because of that family loyalty, Himes has decided to retire from teaching and coaching basketball in order to pursue a career in real estate.
"It was just the absolute most difficult thing I've ever had to do professionally," Himes said. "But I felt I had to do what was best for my family."
Citing a huge increase in salary and a better chance to support his family, Himes held a meeting with his players to inform them of his decision not to return to the Cowboys sideline.
"We had a meeting, and it was extremely difficult," said Himes, who finishes with three district titles, five state playoff appearances and a 154-91 record with the boys basketball team.
"I've always been big on loyalty and relationships. I told them that just because I'm not going to be their coach doesn't mean I'm not going to be there for them."
When he notified the administration of his departure, Himes said he gave several recommendations for a replacement and will work with the new coach to make the transition smooth.
After that, he said he will still attend some Gaither basketball games. Even if it hurts just to walk into the gym.
"I don't know if I'm going to be able to be that close to it and not coach," he said. "But I'm going to have to force myself to do it. This is one of the obstacles in life that I think you have to overcome."
Himes said his new career as a real estate agent is not something that came out of the blue.
When he was growing up, his family was heavily involved in the business, and it is something that he has worked part time at during the summer since he has been teaching. This summer, he tried it full time and realized how much more money he could earn.
"From a financial standpoint, this is big for my family," he said. "It's a tailor-made situation for me that I have to take advantage of. It just came time to make a move."
Having made that move, Himes said he will look back on his years at Gaither as more than just district titles and close games. He said players like Mike Patten, who graduated this year and will become the first Cowboy player to play at a Division I college when he starts at Appalachian State University this fall, are perfect examples of why he loved his job.
"He took the time to come in after school and get tutored," Himes said. "Instead of coasting through his senior year, taking electives, he took classes to replace D's and F's with A's. It's things like that I will miss."