KAYSVILLE — After 24 highly successful seasons as Davis High School's boys head basketball coach, Jay Welk has decided it's time to move on.
"I made my decision awhile ago that this would be my last year, and it hasn't been the best-kept secret around," he said. "I felt like we've accomplished everything we could've at this level, and there are some other opportunities that I'm looking at right now.
"I'm leaving a good situation, and I don't think there's a better job in the world than teaching and coaching at Davis High. But I have always felt you have to have a capacity for growth in your life. So I want to keep moving forward and keep learning and growing, but I still feel like there's some coaching left in me, too."
Welk, who also was the head coach at Weber High for two years before coming to Davis, piled up an overall record of 351-199 (.638) during his 24 years at the Darts' helm. His teams won the 5A state championship in 2002, placed second in the state twice and lost in the semifinals three times, including this season.
Welk guided his Davis High teams to 10 region titles and, over the last nine years, the Darts went 98-18 in league play. In six of those nine seasons, Davis lost no more than one league game. His teams' overall region record was 206-84 (.710) and 34-26 in postseason play.
Welk, 55, graduated from Clearfield High School in 1976, earning his bachelor's degree from Weber State and a master's degree from Utah State. He taught math for 27 years and has also served as Davis High's athletic director and as well as the school's smaller community site coordinator.
He says the thing he's enjoyed the most about his time as the Darts' head coach is the friendships he's formed with his players, coaches and so many others.
"I've been blessed to work with so many wonderful young people," he said, "and the relationships part of it is what I'll miss the most, whether it's the players, the coaching staff, other coaching staffs, the administration or the people in the community.
"I've been so fortunate to be able to work with young people and meet other people, and you hope that maybe, just maybe, you've made just a little bit of difference in people's lives.
"That's something I learned from my high school coach, Roger Reid," Welk said. "If you leave our program a better person than when you came here, then we've succeeded. And when I left Roger's program, I thought I was. I learned a lot about hard work and everything else you have to incorporate into your life — cooperation, unselfishness, sacrifice — all those things that are important things in life to becoming a good parent and husband. All those things helped me as I moved on in life, and that was my goal with my own players. I tried to instill those same qualities in our players."
He also thanked his wife, Luann, for her tremendous support.
"I've been a head coach for 26 years, and my wife has sacrificed a ton and made sure I did what I wanted to do," he said.