On the last days of the Costa Mesa High baseball season, Coach Jim Kiefer talked about next year and how so many players planned to return.
Kiefer has decided he will not join them next season.
Kiefer informed his players on Wednesday that he stepped down as coach to concentrate on being the boys' athletic director, and to pursue his master's degree and to spend time with his family.
Kiefer led the Mustangs for six seasons, guiding them to the Orange Coast League title two years ago. The league crown was the program's first since 1978 and one of Kiefer's finest moments.
"It was an extremely difficult decision," said Kiefer, who guided the Mustangs to an 83-77 record and four CIF Southern Section playoff appearances. "As I told my players [Wednesday], it's a situation where I played and coached baseball my whole life, but this is a grown-up situation. The little boy in me wanted to continue to [be involved with baseball]. But I had to make a decision to manage everything the best way possible.
"[The Mustangs] need a head coach who can solely concentrate on the program. I look forward to finding the next coach, who can get the program to the level [that] I got it to and also move it forward."
This past season, Costa Mesa's four-year run at advancing to the postseason ended. The Mustangs finished 10-15, 5-10 in league.
Kiefer, who coached formerly at Newport Harbor High, did not rule out coaching again.