Bless stepping down as North football coach

For the first time since the turn of the century, Columbus North will have a new football coach roaming the sidelines.

Tim Bless, who has spent the past 22 years as Bull Dogs coach, announced his resignation on Wednesday. He also has resigned as strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletics director.

“I’m thankful for the many years in these roles, and the relationships I have built with kids and colleagues, but it is time to pull back and have more time with family and myself,” Bless said in a news release. “I look forward to continuing my role as an educator in BCSC.”

Bless went 147-95 in his 22 years at North and won regional championships in 2004, 2006 and 2007. He had previously spent two years as head coach at Paoli and had an overall record of 159-104 in 24 years.

The Bull Dogs have gone 6-3 and 6-4 and won Conference Indiana titles the past two years. But as has been the case throughout most of the past decade, they ran into juggernaut Center Grove teams in the sectional.

“Over the past two years, I have appreciated the time that I’ve gotten to know Coach Bless and his passion for football,” North athletics director Brian Lewis said. “Throughout his time at Columbus North, he consistently made the Bull Dogs a competitive football team. We wish him the best as he takes time to be with his family and appreciate his efforts in each role he held for us.”

Bless was named Conference Indiana Coach of the Year three times and was part of the Indiana All-Star coaching staff in 2004 and 2008. Seventeen of his players have been Indiana All-Stars, 34 have been named All-State and 91 have gone on to play football in college.

“Tim’s hard work and dedication to the football program has left a lasting imprint on the Bull Dog football program and we wish him the best as he transitions out of his role with athletics,” Clark said.

Among the players Bless was able to coach at North was his son Luke, who now plays at University of Indianapolis, the same school where Tim played college football.

“As of tonight, I’m stepping down as the head football coach of CNHS. After 28 years of high school coaching, it’s just time. Time to pull back from the grind, the stress, the hours. Time to give more to my family and myself,” Tim Bless wrote in a Twitter post.

“Thank you players, managers, trainers, coaches, administrators and parents — I’m so grateful; you mean more to me than I can express!

“I’m not going anywhere (unless the Colts or Cowboys come calling). I’ll just get to feel what it’s like to leave school at normal hours, get to watch my son’s games without thinking about how much film I need to break down and get to see of the rumors are true that golf courses are actually open in the fall.

“DogPack, I love you and I’m proud of you,” the Tweet concluded.

Lewis said a search for Bless’ successor is ready to commence.

“Our priority right now is to support our student-athletes as they participate in their offseason workouts and we will begin a coaching search immediately,” Lewis said. “We will update the players, school, and community when we are ready to announce our next step.”