Darah Huffman has blown her whistle for the last time.
For now, at least.
Huffman, who was a basketball star at Darlington in the mid-1990s, recently resigned from her coaching and teaching positions at J.L. Mann in Greenville, S.C., to become an assistant principal in Mauldin (S.C.) High.
Huffman had spent 10 seasons at Mann, where she compiled a gaudy 229-42 record and led the team to three straight Class AAA state championships from 2006-2008.
She said the decision to step away from the sidelines was bittersweet, but said she has always believed that “changes bring growth.”
“I will always be a coach at heart,” Huffman said during a phone interview with the Rome News-Tribune on Thursday night, “and I know I will miss my players, miss my girls.”
This is the second time in Huffman’s life that she has stepped away from basketball. Last time, though, it called her back.
After graduating from Darlington in 1995, Huffman went on to play her college ball at Presbyterian. After that, she ventured into the “real” world, including serving in a sales position before being reunited with basketball in a coaching role.
And success soon followed.
Huffman enjoyed a terrific run at Mann, including directing the team to the third round of the state playoffs seven times and posting nine 20-win seasons.
She said she was “very blessed” to have the opportunity to coach at Mann, but said she is now ready for a new chapter in her life.
Huffman said the opportunity to move toward an administrative role was something she had been considering for some time.
“It was a big decision,” she said, “but I’ve learned that some of my biggest decisions have also been my easiest.”
That’s not to say, by any means, that Huffman won’t always have a place in her heart for basketball.
“I know when the weather turns colder, I am going to miss that whistle,” she said.