Windham head football coach and athletic director Bill Raycraft has resigned from both positions.
Raycraft announced the news on Friday, but said he submitted his resignation a few weeks ago. He will continue with athletic director duties until June 20.
“I want to be the best I can be at my job,” said Raycraft in a press release. “And, going forward, I felt it was getting harder to do that with the time this profession takes. I love my position, the students, fellow coaches, teachers, boosters and parents, but at some point I have to look at what is best for all of us.”
Raycraft has served as football coach and athletic director for Windham since the school opened in 2009.
The Eagle-Tribune Football Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2011, Raycraft built an outstanding 68-23 record as head coach since the Jaguars began varsity play in 2010.
He led Windham to the Division 2 state championship in 2014 — a 38-28 thriller over St. Thomas — and trips to the title game in 2015 and 2011.
Windham moved up to Division 1 in the fall of 2018, and delivered a 6-3 record, including upsets of Division 1 state finalist Pinkerton and Salem, which advanced to the semifinals. The Jags won four straight to finish the season, and were in the playoff race to the end.
“Coach Raycraft is a great coach,” said 2018 Windham captain Tommy Emrick via text. “Coach always gave us the best chance to succeed and took care of his players on and off the field. He cared about his players so much. The brotherhood and the memories that we have, we owe to coach Raycraft. I’m sure I speak for my teammates that we are all happy to have played for coach.”
Raycraft came to Windham after also starting the John Stark football program, serving as head coach for eight seasons. His father, Joe Raycraft, was football coach and AD at Merrimack High for nearly 30 years. After spending time on his son’s staff at Windham, Joe was recently hired at Merrimack Valley.
Bill Raycraft said he has not made any decisions about his future post-Windham.
“It’s an unknown, but I feel the time is right,” he said. “The athletic programs have thus far transitioned well into successful Division 1 teams and the football program has positioned itself into a contender for next season.”
Raycraft is not the first highly-successful Windham coach to exit unexpectedly in recent seasons. State championship-winning baseball coach Jason Matthews was fired by the Jaguars during the 2016 season with his team at 10-1. In the winter of 2016, varsity hockey coach Jerry Manchester resigned, unexpectedly, soon after winning the state title at the team’s banquet.
“I’d like to thank all of those in the community that have supported me and our programs as we got them started,” said Raycraft. “I’ve spent the last 11 years in this community and it truly feels like home to me and I’ve given it my heart and soul. (It was) not always easy, but we all wanted what was best for the students and we found ways to get it done.
“The passion and enthusiasm for athletics in Windham is contagious and it’s been gratifying to be a small part of its success and certainly something I’ll miss.”