SMITHS STATION, Ala. -- Longtime Smiths Station coach Clinton Britton announced Monday that he is stepping down after 21 years as the school's baseball coach.
Britton, who has a record of 496-218, will remain an assistant on the football coaching staff as well as a physical education teacher at Smith Station.
Britton said he made the final decision to step down during a family vacation last week.
"I had been contemplating retirement for the last couple of years," Britton said. "I have been doing this a long time.
"It has been a thrill and an honor to coach here."
Smiths Station principal Jason Yohn said the school appreciated Britton's efforts.
"He won a lot of games," Yohn said. "His heart is in Smiths Station, his family is in Smiths Station. He has left a lasting legacy."
Yohn said the decision to step down was Britton's.
"This was his decision," Yohn said. "There was no pressure. He decided this was what was best for him."
Britton wouldn't rule out returning to the baseball field as a coach one day if the right opportunity came his way.
"I wouldn't say I will never coach again," Britton said. "I have enjoyed myself. I just have been doing it for a long time."
In addition to his 496 wins, Britton led the Panthers to eight area championships, including the Class 6A Area 5 title in April. The Panthers, who lost to area rival Auburn in the second round, won a school-record 39 games.
Under his watch, Smiths Station made the state playoffs 15 times, had 17 20-plus win seasons, made one state semifinal appearance and sent 68 players to play on the collegiate level.
"I don't have any regrets," Britton said. "We probably had 2-to-4 teams that really had a chance to win a state championship, but we were never able to get it in our grasp."
Yohn said that he and athletic director Mark Rose would go through all the resumes they receive, looking for the best candidate.
"We anticipate receiving a lot of interest," Yohn said. "This is a well-respected program."
Rose said that assistant Mike Ferry has been named the interim head coach.
One possible candidate is former Shaw High baseball coach Charles Flowers, who was hired at Smiths Station last year after leaving Troup. Flowers led Shaw to the 2001 GHSA Class AAAA state championship.
"If he wants to be a candidate, he will be," Rose said.
Yohn and Rose said they hope to have a replacement identified in time for the Lee County school board to vote on him at its July 9th meeting.
Kevin Price, 706-320-4493. Follow Kevin on Twitter@lesports