It was quite simply time to step aside. That’s how Tim Salter described his decision to end a legendary career when he announced on Monday his resignation as the head coach of the Upland High School football team.
As his retirement from teaching beckons, and without recalling what a summer away from football feels like, Salter put to a close a career that saw him win four CIF championships and turn Upland into a Southern California power.
“It’s been a fantastic 25 years at Upland,” said Salter, who informed his team of his decision on Monday afternoon then immediately ordered them back to the weight room. “And I will say this, I’ve held the best job in the district for 25 years as a teacher and coach. Without a doubt, I’m the luckiest guy in the world. And now it’s time to let someone else do it.”
Salter, 61, will retire from teaching at the end of this school year. He will remain as the Highlanders head coach until then. It appears likely that Upland will promote from within to fill Salter’s spot..
Whoever inherits the job will have big shoes to fill. Salter’s record at Upland was 217-88-1. The Highlanders played in six CIF championship games, winning four, and also won 10 league championships. Salter’s record in the playoffs was 38-17. His overall record as a head coach was 237-100-1, which includes a two-year stint at Schurr in 1992-93 and one season at Cathedral in 1987.
It took Salter very little time to have success at Upland. After going 4-6 in his first season in 1994, the Highlanders won their first CIF championship under Salter in 1995. What followed was a multi-decade run as one of the top programs around.
Perhaps Salter’s finest coaching job came this season when he took a team that didn’t even win its league and won the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship thanks to huge postseason wins over Norco and Calabasas along the way.
“The thing that was really special about this year was that so many of the impact players we had, they’ve been with us for four years,” Salter said. “I think as a coach, especially in this day and age, not that we don’t we like anybody who comes in, to win with a group who has been here the whole time is special.”
As the son of legendary former Arcadia head coach Dick Salter, coaching football was in Tim Salter’s blood. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Whittier College from 1980-86. He then joined the staff at Schurr. Meanwhile, Tim’s brother Tom, had head coaching jobs at Bishop Amat and Culver City.
Dick Salter died in 2014, Tom is now the athletic director at Culver City and with Tim retiring, that means the odds are likely that next fall there won’t be a Salter coaching a Southern California football team for the first time since 1955.
“I don’t know if any other family can say that,” Salter said. “As a family legacy, that’s pretty important.”