Meek Retires at Toronto


TORONTO — Toronto football coach Erik Meek was unanimously voted by the school board Dec. 14 to continue being the Red Knights’ man in charge.

Everybody Meek is closest to anticipated him returning to the gridiron this year, but he needed more time to contemplate his future. He took a 10-day vacation to southern Florida shortly after and spent quality family time with his wife, father and kids.

It was not supposed to happen this soon, but Meek announced his retirement Tuesday in an administration meeting. He told his players and coaches less than an hour later.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I just feel like the time’s right to pass the torch to somebody else,” Meek said. “Toronto has been very good to me. They hired me back in 1993 as the youngest head coach in Ohio.”

Meek, a graduate of Youngstown State University, was only 24 years old when he took over Toronto. He was hired back 16 years later after his first stint. He recently finished his eighth season of his second stint with the Red Knights, going 48-36 overall and reaching the playoffs four straight years before this season’s 4-6 mark.

“It had nothing to do with the wins and losses,” he said. “I had a meeting (Tuesday) and felt it was best to step down (Tuesday).

Before returning to Toronto, Meek guided Weir and Wellsville to playoff appearances. He led the Red Riders to the W.Va. Class AA state championship in 2005. Meek also served as an assistant at Beaver Local, Robert Morris and YSU.

“Everywhere I’ve been it’s been great,” Meek said. “My dad has been my biggest influence. I got to coach with my brother for many years. I got to coach my son for three years. A lot of people stress about the wins and losses, but the main thing is the kids. It’s the relationship you have with the kids.”

Meek is unsure if coaching again is a possibility. He does plan to keep teaching social studies and career based intervention at Toronto in the meantime. He also looks forward to doing things he never had time for in the past such as watch his son play as a fan, hang out with his daughter, spend more time with his father and wife, and maybe attend a few YSU games.

“I’m very proud of what we accomplished that the average fan will never see,” Meek said. “It’s been an emotional last few hours. It’s going to be different and sad, but I look forward to seeing them in school as their teacher. And I will always be Coach Meek to them.”