NIWOT -- After three straight losing seasons at Niwot, Ron Tesone resigned from his position as head football coach on Friday amid player unrest.

The son of Cherry Creek coaching legend Fred Tesone, Ron Tesone spent 12 years with the program and built a 66-52 record in 11 years as head coach at Niwot.

The Cougars were 3A Tri-Valley Conference champs in 2004 and Tesone was named Boulder County Coach of the Year. They finished 12-1 and reached the Class 3A state semifinals that year.

But the Cougars finished 2-8 this season -- including a forfeit of an opening-week win over Adams City for using an ineligible player -- and have a 5-25 record over the past three seasons, prompting some players to sign a petition of no confidence in the direction of the program.

On Friday afternoon, Tesone held a meeting for players and coaches in the Niwot High School library.

At the meeting, the players expressed their concerns with the program's direction to the coaching staff. Tesone said he addressed the players' concerns but after the meeting he didn't feel right and decided to turn in his resignation.

"It just feels like time for me," Tesone said. "I had 11 beautiful years as head coach and it's just time to pass the torch. When you know it, you know it."

Tesone sent out an email Friday evening alerting players and parents to his decision.

"It has been my absolute honor to teach and coach here at Niwot High School for the past 12 years," Tesone said in the email. "After 11 years as the Head Coach I am stepping down. I am honored to still be teaching here.

"I have so much appreciated all of the amazing players, parents and coaches that I have had the privilege of teaching and coaching with. Thanks so much to Niwot. I feel that I have left the program in a much better place."

Tesone will remain at Niwot High School as a business education instructor, but said he has lost some of the competitive fire needed to manage the many facets of growing a football program, which he says the players deserve in a head coach.

Niwot athletics director Jim Butterfield said Tesone will be missed but that he understands his reasons for leaving.

"He's done great things for Niwot High School and after 12 years, he wants to spend more time with his family," Butterfield said.

After reaching the 3A semifinals in 2004, Niwot football moved up to 4A in the 2006 season and finished 9-2. Since then, the Cougars have a 24-37 record.

Until Friday, Tesone was the longest tenured coach at Niwot High School.

No players or parents could be reached for comment Friday night.

Brad Cochi can be reached at bcochi@times-call.com.