Charleston Southern football coach retires after 10 years

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charleston Southern University's head football coach Jay Mills is retiring.

Mills has led the Buccaneers for 10 years.{}

According to a player, the team was notified by email Thursday morning of Mills' decision to retire. The team will have a meeting later in the week to discuss how the program will move forward.{}

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Mills teared up as he spoke about the last 10 years and following in his father's foot steps and becoming a football coach.{}

"I have been blessed to be part of Charleston Southern University," he said.

Mills said his passion for grooming players and coaches is leading him away from the gridiron and into heading up a full athletic department. He said that would be his new "ministry."

The 51-year-old Mills announced the move Thursday, saying it was the right time to step aside for the program. Mills was 48-63 at Charleston Southern and leaves with the most wins in school history.

He said he was leaving the program in great shape, adding that he was sure the team would win next year. After last season's no-win season, he said he could not leave then so he waited. This year, the team went 5-6, what Mills considered solid ground for the Bucs.{}

Mills led Charleston Southern to the Big South Conference title in 2005. His best season came in 2006 when his team won its first nine games and finished 9-2.

Mills said he does not have a new job lined up yet.

"Personally, professionally, athletically -- the best is yet to come for CSU," Mills said.{}

CSU's Athletic Director said the school is already receiving calls from the NFL and the FBS on the open coaching availability.{}