NORTH CANTON: The story of Jeff Hite’s coaching career is one of success and survivorship.

Most significant, Hite is in control of how the story ends.

The 58-year-old Hite has made the decision to retire as Hoover High School’s varsity baseball coach after 14 years guiding the Vikings. He spent the previous 14 years as Hoover’s softball coach, leading the program to state championships in 1998 and 1999.

In those 28 years, he accumulated 588 career wins — the most by a varsity head coach in Hoover history.

“I’m going out on my own terms,” Hite said Tuesday.

There were times during the last 10 years that possibility was in question.

Hite beat cancer twice. He overcame pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare type of cancer that typically begins in the appendix, after surgeries in 2009 and 2011 (the first surgery included his appendix, spleen, gallbladder and 15 pounds of his abdomen being removed). Two years ago, it was leukemia. He still takes a chemo pill every day to keep it at bay.

“You look at things differently when you’ve been through health issues,” Hite said. “There were some really scary moments. When you look back at it, I have no doubt in my mind that I’m blessed to be here. I’m thankful for every day with my family.”

The term survivor fits Hite in more ways than one. Former superintendent Michael Hartenstein recommended that Hite not be renewed as head coach after the 2014 season but reversed course after Hite received a strong show of community support.

Much of that support came from former players, which stirs Hite to this day.

“I feel like I’ve inherited hundreds of daughters and hundreds of sons,” he said. “I’d do anything for them.”

North Canton to the core, Hite graduated from Hoover in 1978 after playing for head baseball coach Gordon Knisely. He later served as an assistant for Mel Long, whom he succeeded as head coach in 2004. Hite is just the fourth head coach in Hoover baseball history after Don Hertler Sr. (1954-70), Knisely (1971-84) and Long (1985-2004).

“I’ve always been about the orange and black,” he said.

Hite retired as a teacher from Hoover in 2015 and still is a fixture at various athletic events for the school whether in an official or unofficial capacity.

“Anytime you have someone with 28 years of experience coaching at your school, you’re very thankful and appreciative of that service,” Hoover athletic director Tim Walker said. “On a personal level, I certainly appreciated working with him the last few years. He’s a Viking through and through, and that’s the kind of guy you want coaching here.”

To step down at this time just made sense for Hite, who led the Vikings to an 18-10 record this spring.

His youngest son, Jordan, is graduating from Hoover on Sunday and will play for Malone next season. Hite’s last managerial act was coaching Jordan in the Hank Miller Senior Baseball Classic on Monday at Hoover.

Also, there is a grandchild on the way for him and his wife, Stephanie. Their daughter, Julie, is pregnant and due in five weeks.

Hite stresses that he feels good physically but acknowledges that coaching is a drain.

“The seasons were getting long to be honest. I was sensing it was getting to be time,” he said. “With the last health scare, maybe it was ironic that it happened in the spring. People always say you’ll know when it’s time. Well, it’s time.”

The back-to-back state softball championships, led by Katie (Chain) Miller and assisted by current head coach Jerry Goodpasture, certainly serve as highlights to Hite’s coaching career.

“I really didn’t appreciate how good those teams were at that time,” he said. “It doesn’t sink in until you coach a long time and don’t have near the talent you had on those teams. Those were special groups both years.”

Hite’s softball teams went 341-64.

Another memory is the Dom Iero-led 2013 team winning Hoover baseball’s first district title in 14 years. Hite’s baseball teams went 247-143, winning the one district title and earning Federal League championships in 2006 and 2013. Hite also coached his other son, Jeff, at Hoover.

Hite, who played 20-plus years in the Canton Class A baseball league and accumulated 1,000 career hits, plans to stay busy in retirement. He runs the shot clock at Walsh University men’s and women’s basketball games and the 25-second play clock for Walsh football games.

“I hope I don’t get fired since my son is going to Malone,” he joked.

As for who will replace Hite at Hoover, Walker said the job should be posted by the end of the week.

Hite believes there are some strong internal candidates for the job and added, “I’m just going to say I have confidence in Tim Walker to make the right choice.”