Jeff Tisdel tackles every task with emotion.
Ties his shoes with purpose. Mows the lawn with fury. Watches game film while leaning forward with jaws and fists clenched. Coaches the same way, too.
The one soft spot to Tisdel's otherwise hard-boiled, gruff exterior is his family. His parents need him, and he's going to answer that call with kindness and reflection.
Tisdel announced his resignation as Sierra College football coach Monday.
A coaching fixture in the region since 1981, Tisdel said he bows out proud of his body of work but aching to spend more time with his folks, Bud and Irene, both 86 and married for 65 years.
Tisdel has stepped down before, to catch his breath as he battled exhaustion, but this is different, he stressed. This deals with his foundation.
"I need to be with them," Tisdel said, his voice heavy. "They've been there for me and my brother, Tom, rocks of our life. They went to every game I played, from St. Charles Elementary to Christian Brothers High School to Nevada, and they've seen just about every game I've coached. They've been to Hughes Stadium for more games than anyone I know. I look up to them. I owe them everything.
"If I'm watching film and something happens to them, and I didn't spend more time, I'd regret it for the rest of my life. I can't do that to them."
Tisdel, 56, said his parents always offer a hug and a reminder, before and after games or in the middle of the week over dinner as he intensely butters his bread:
"Son, you really need some rest."
Illness has prevented Tisdel's parents from attending games the past two seasons. Tisdel said he has coached that stretch with a void impossible to fill.
"My dad fought me on this, stepping down, saying, 'Damn it, we want you to do what you love to do, and that's coach,' " Tisdel recalled. "It's hard to say no to Dad. He's got the iron fist. We're both pretty emotional. We don't cry, but we did then."
Tisdel has produced one of the region's best football résumés. He was a Bee All-Metro quarterback at CBS in 1973 and went on to set passing records and earn All-America status at Nevada. In 1983, he coached CBS to a 13-1 record and a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship.
Tisdel directed Sacramento City College to 39 wins in five seasons, from 1989 to 1993, and guided Nevada to two Big West Conference championships from 1996 to 1999 before stepping aside to recharge. Tisdel resurfaced in 2000 at Sierra in Rocklin, where he embraced his greatest challenge.
With strong recruiting, attention to detail and old-school values, the Wolverines won 37 consecutive games from 2002 to 2005, the second-longest streak in state history and fourth-longest nationally.
Tisdel will coach his final game Saturday at San Mateo. It will be his ninth community college bowl. Tisdel has 123 victories combined at Sierra and Sac City. He's the winningest coach in Sierra history.
"I loved all the places I've coached," Tisdel said. "Kevin Ramirez hired me at Sierra, and we had a vision, and we accomplished it. It's just time to step away. There's no time in the offseason to be with family."
Tisdel said he learned about work ethic from his parents. Bud was in the freight business, in management or driving a truck, for decades.
Irene worked for the Office of the State Fire Marshall for 25 years. Tisdel cracked that all he's done for a living is blow a whistle, chart plays and rampage up and down a sideline.
"A pretty good life," he said. "Mine and my parents."