NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After 40 years of coaching at North Little Rock High School, head football coach Randy Sandefur is retiring to become the director of parks and recreation for the city.

Coach Sandefur said deciding to become the director of parks and rec for the city wasn’t an easy decision.

He said that he told his wife and staff that when it got hard for him to go to work, he would know it was time to stop coaching and that time had arrived.

“It was a storybook ending,” Sandefur said about the magical story that began in 1983 when he first walked through the doors of North Little Rock High School.

“The 40 years I spent at North Little Rock has gotten me here to where I need to be,” Sandefur said.

He said it’s “bittersweet” to hang up the whistle and trade coaching for the parks.

“It’s hard, but I really thank God that he has allowed this position to come open.”

Sandefur has coached track, basketball, baseball and finished his career as head football coach.

“It was hard for me to tell our group of young men that I was leaving,” Sandefur stated.

But North Little Rock is home for Sandefur, so to be a part of repairing the damage caused by the March 31 tornado isn’t a job he takes lightly.

“If you’re from North Little Rock like I am and love the community like I do, it’s just tough, but we are working very very hard on getting this restored,” he said referring to Burns Park, that was leveled by the storm.

Despite being a part of four Charging Wildcat state championship teams, nothing compared to the little moments.

“What I will miss is being able to slip my arm around a student athlete and saying I love you,” Sandefur stated.

Telling his players those three words is equivalent to how much the three letters, NLR means to Coach Sandefur, and he is proud to continue to serve his city.