Doug Diedrich is retiring after 31 seasons with Castle football programs
NEWBURGH, Indiana — Doug Diedrich made that decision before the start of the season.
This fall would be his final football coaching at Castle High School. Diedrich only said so to a select few, including administration, because he wanted the focus to be only on the players. But there was no denying the impact he had on this game at this school.
Diedrich announced his resignation from coaching this week and informed the girls’ soccer team on Monday. He finished with a record of 432-109-61 over 31 seasons between the Knights’ boys and girls programs.
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The reasoning was simple: Diedrich has reached a point in his life where he needs his focus elsewhere. He and his wife Carla have four grandchildren, two in Newburgh and two in Kansas City.
“That’s football, football for about 52 years,” said Diedrich. “I thought it was time before I got too old and couldn’t do anything. I want to enjoy family and grandchildren and spend a lot more time with my wife.”
Diedrich played soccer at the University of Evansville and was a member of the 1985 Final Four team. There he met Carla, a member of the basketball team. His coaching career also began at this time.
Barb Dykstra and Shelly Brand were on the basketball team but asked Diedrich to help them with soccer practice at Central. After a week, they realized that the time commitment wasn’t going to work. Diedrich stepped in and oversaw both programs for a number of years.
“I was thrown into the fire almost immediately,” said Diedrich.
He was appointed boys’ football coach at Castle in 1991. It was at this point that Diedrich was beginning to make a name for himself as one of the top high school coaches in the area. In 20 seasons, Diedrich won 264 games, including eight sectionals and five regionals. The Knights were runners-up to Penn in 1999 before winning their only state championship in 2000 against North Central.
Diedrich switched to the girls’ program in 2012 and has continued to have incredible success. He won 168 games in 11 seasons with seven section titles and three regional championships. Diedrich also won 12 Southern Indiana Athletic Conference championships combined between the two programs.
Diedrich said administrative and community support made staying as long as he has been a no-brainer. In 2018, he was inducted into the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“It was a real family,” said Diedrich. “The administration at Castle High School was incredible. The cooperation with the community and the players was great. The children wanted to learn and play. I’m originally from St. Louis and my wife is from Indianapolis. We ended up in Newburgh and it was a great decision for us.”
Castle went 14-3 this fall, losing in the section championship. The Knights, who ranked in the top 10 all season, have completed six seniors but will be a contender for the future. Seven starters are returning plus seven of their top eight scorers. Diedrich also pointed out a large incoming freshman class.
He joked that when talent levels drop, coaches usually choose a window to step aside. It was simply time to hand over the keys. Regardless of when Diedrich decided to retire, he increased both programs while at Castle.
“Quality and quantity are there,” Diedrich said of the girls’ program. “I’d like to think it was in a better place than it was 12 years ago but the previous coach (Joe Lattner) did a great job. It’s in a good place and will only get better. I’m curious what happens.”
Follow Courier & Press sports reporter Kyle Sokeland on Twitter @kylesokeland.