Beaumont principal Kathryn Norwood sounded slightly choked up as she discussed the Cougars’ outgoing coach, who will remain at the school as its head counselor. Harvey, 57, said he plans to retire from education within a few years. “He’s been fabulous,” Norwood said. “I have the highest regard for his ethics and morals and for what it took to build the program years ago after years of losing. “I’m sure there are many adult males in positions of authority now who gleaned a lot from Gary’s coaching.” Harvey’s decision comes almost in tandem with Norwood’s recent decision to open all coaching jobs each season, regardless of whether the coach is on-campus or off-campus. She rejected the notion the move was made to force some coaches out. “People are going to say whatever they want,” Norwood said. “Gary had his resume ready, but his decision has been made and it’s a heartwrenching one because there’s nobody I hold in higher regard. But we understand and support his decision and will move forward in looking for a new coach.” The job is currently open in district. After six days it may be opened to out-of-district applicants. Added Harvey regarding the new policy of opening all coaching jobs: “People are going to see it as a conspiracy to get the head coach out, but they’re just blowing smoke.” The school year 2006-2007 will be one of change as Beaumont moves to its new campus, which ironically will not have a new football field (at least not yet). Harvey knows about change, having suffered a life-altering injury his senior year (1971-72) at Fresno State. While working at a pizza parlor, he got his right arm stuck in a machine that was used to grind cheese and lost half of the limb. Undaunted, the former San Jacinto High School star athlete took his college finals left-handed, then a month later married his wife Marilyn. The Harveys will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in two weeks. Years later, Beaumont fans often celebrated touchdowns by raising one-and-a-half arms into the air, a tribute to their coach whom some players fondly referred to as “Captain Hook.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I wasn’t forced out or anything like that,” Harvey said. “But we have 120 kids for two teams and will have three teams in the near future. I have diabetes and just totally ignored it for a while and now I’m taking insulin. “Besides that, I have four kids and six grandkids.” Gary Harvey’s 27-year tenure as the Beaumont High School football coach has ended. Harvey said Thursday afternoon he is stepping aside from the football job at the growing school because of health reasons and to spend more time with his family. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Although Harvey said he is getting his diabetes under control, he said he is not sure his health would allow him to dedicate the countless hours that it will take to run the burgeoning program. Beaumont’s enrollment is expected to top 1,700 next fall. Harvey said he made his decision Wednesday night after long phone discussions with those close to him. “For the program to grow we need someone who has the same desire I came in with,” Harvey said. “I talked to my kids and some ex-players about this and they all said, ‘What else do you have to prove?”‘ Harvey won about 60 percent of his games and eight league titles in those 27 years. His teams made the CIF-Southern Section semifinals three times and qualified for the playoffs 17 times. His 2005 team went 2-8.