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Finley enjoying retirement, but misses coaching football

Aug. 22, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.

At this time last year, Mickey Finley was preparing to open the football season with the East Titans. This year, he's enjoying his retirement in San Angelo.

Mickey Finley has to make a daily decision that many of us would welcome.

"It's different getting up everyday and planning what you're going to do," Finley said. "It's pretty tough spending eight hours on the golf course."

Finley has more free time on his hands than he's had in nearly four decades.

For the first time in 38 years, Finley won't be coaching when the high school football season begins next week.

"It's been strange, really weird," Finley said. "You get used to going to coaching school, going to meetings and working with the coaches and the kids."

Finley, who is about to turn 61, and his wife, Patty, moved to San Angelo after he stepped down as the head football coach at Victoria East in November.

Finley won over 200 games at Klondike, Comanche, Iraan, Cuero, Arlington High, Cleburne, Schulenburg, Victoria Memorial and East. He led Cuero to two state final appearances.

He declined to go into details about the reasons for his departure from East or his decision to retire.

The Titans went 7-5 last season, finished second in District 30-4A, and lost to Weslaco East in the Division I area playoffs.

"I miss coaching," said Finley, who led the Titans to the regional playoffs in the program's first season. "I don't miss all the other stuff."

Finley hasn't entirely gotten away from football. He watched Angelo State go through spring drills, although he turned down an offer to help coach the team.

His home is less than a mile from the football stadium and he plans to watch San Angelo Central play this season. Central is coached by Brent Davis, a former assistant of Finley at Cuero.

"It will be a lot of fun in the fall," Finley said. "I can fish. I've always loved to fish and I can see a lot of my old coaches coach."

Finley has also been helping his elder son, Clint, who played at Cuero and Nebraska and is the head football coach at Los Fresnos.

Mickey Finley looks at video of Los Fresnos' practices and offers suggestions to his son.

Finley is also looking forward to seeing his youngest son, Joe Jon, play for the Carolina Panthers. Joe Jon was planning to become a graduate assistant at Oklahoma, his alma mater, before heading back into the NFL.

Mickey and Patty will visit Joe Jon at his home in Norman, Okla., this week for the birth of his first child.

Finley said he's been jogging and his golf game has improved, although he refused to divulge his handicap.

He'll have to stay away from the course for a while after he has surgery on his left knee next week.

The surgery will come two days before the high school football season opens.

Finley knows he won't coach this season, but wouldn't rule out doing it again.

"I'm going to miss it," he said. "I don't know how long this retirement is going to last. If I do come back, it would have to be the right program and it would have to be around here. We're not going to move."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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