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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Family chimes in on Mueller's retirement from coaching

Contributed Photo. Recently retired Highlands football Head Coach Dale Mueller (glasses) listed spending more time with family as a big reason for his retirement.
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

One of the big reasons Dale Mueller listed for retiring from coaching is family.

Mueller spent the last 20 seasons as Head Coach of the vaunted Highlands Bluebirds football team. The Bluebirds went 250-36 during that time with 11 state championships, three state runner-up trophies and 17 district championships. That win total is good for 18th in Kentucky High School Football history.

Mueller and his wife Patty raised four children. All four graduated from Highlands like Dale Mueller did in 1973. They are Maggie Mueller Mason (Class of 2000), Eamon Mueller (2002), Terrence Mueller (2005) and Kelsa Mueller Ader (2007). The family stayed in Fort Thomas even when Mueller served as Head Coach at Cincinnati Withrow and Cincinnati Sycamore.

“It was extremely important for me to not have to move my family out of Fort Thomas,” Dale Mueller said. “I was not going to take a job that caused me to move from Fort Thomas. That being said I do consider myself a man of the world because I grew up in the Woodfill (Elementary) district, I raised my children in the Johnson district and I now live in the Moyer district.”

Mueller will teach and serve as the Highlands Director of Athletics thorough next year. Patty Mueller grew up in the state of New York.

When I was young, my father worked for the New York State Telephone Company and for many years it hung over our heads that he would be transferred to another city and we would have to move,” Patty Mueller said. “I am sure that I would have adapted to a move, but was thankful that I didn't have to.  Dale and I always wanted that security for our kids too.”

Dale Mueller’s overall record in 29 as a head coach was 309-67. He served as an assistant at Cincinnati Western Hills and Newport High before becoming a head coach.

The kids are also thankful they did not have to move during that time. Mason and Eamon Mueller still live in Campbell County.

My dad always tells the story about when I was five years old and he met a college football coach from (the University of Cincinnati) that had the opportunity to move to Florida to coach but his daughter didnt want to move,” Mason said. “He told my dad, ‘I am not going to let a 5-year-old dictate my career.’ My dad said, ‘My 5-year-old completely dictates my career. My dad is a family man first and I think that is one reason he was so successful. I guess I really never thought about moving as an option because I knew we never would.”

Mason currently stays home with children George and Meredith. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 2004. She sells Origami Owl Jewelry as a side business. Her husband Michael is a 1994 Highlands alum who played on the 1992 3A state championship team. She is glad her dad will be able to see the grandchildren more.

“My kids are going to having a wonderful time playing with him,” Mason said. “They both cry when it is time to leave my parents’ house. But I would be lying if I wouldn’t say I would miss going to the games and hearing about football. I have honestly enjoyed every minute of him being a football coach. He worked a lot, but I love football and I loved all the memories that surround that - riding on the bus home from the Sycamore games, watching the Withrow cheerleaders dance to the band, being a football trainer in middle school at HHS, going to the state games.”

Eamon Mueller currently lives in Melbourne. Dale Mueller told the family after the 2012 season that 2013 would be his last season as Head Coach.

“I was excited for him,” Eamon Mueller said. “I know how much he loved coaching football. But I also know he will enjoy his free time.”

Dale Mueller called Eamon Mueller his all-time favorite football player. Eamon Mueller recorded consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2000 and 2001.

“It makes me happy to know that he is proud of me,” Eamon Mueller said. “I couldn’t ask for a better role model and father.”

Terrence Mueller lives in Fort Myers (Fla.) and sells Solar Energy for Fafco Solar. Dale Mueller went to Florida on Spring Break to visit Terrence Mueller.

Ader lives in New York City and works for Estee Lauder. She is married to high school sweetheart Jackson Ader. The two then graduated from Murray State before landing jobs in the Big Apple and getting married. Ader and her sister got married during the summer dead period to accommodate Dale Mueller’s schedule.

“One thing my dad was great at was not bringing work home,” Ader said. “If you were a fly on the wall during dinner at our house, you may have learned he was a teacher but never that he was a football coach.  When he was at home he was truly at home. I got to experience the love and compassion of ‘Dad’ because he left ‘Coach’ at the door.”

The kids listed playing cards and fishing as things they look forward to doing with their father now that he’s retired from coaching.

“It sounds dumb, and my friends and family will laugh, but I also look forward to him walking the dog with me more often,” Patty Mueller said. “I am addicted to walking my dog and he is willing to go out with me in 10 degrees!  Now he has more energy to do that.”

Patty Mueller stayed at home when the kids were younger. She started working part-time at Wise Owl Preschool when Kelsa was two. She has been a teacher’s assistant at Johnson Elementary for the past 13 years.

Dale Mueller had also only been able to go on vacation during the summer dead period. Mason said he’s planning something for August.

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