Bill Alvaro Jr. said it was a tough decision but a necessary one.

On Thursday, two days before the start of his 17th season as Washington Township's baseball coach, Alvaro Jr. submitted his resignation to athletic director Kevin Murphy.

"I just have a lot of family stuff going on at home," Alvaro Jr. said Friday. "I thought I could make it work. I tried. But it was just too much time."

Murphy said Friday that assistant coach Bob Kelly would become the team's head coach on an interim basis. Murphy said he hoped to have a recommendation for the team's new head coach to the principal and superintendent in advance of the April 16 board of education meeting.

Murphy said he met with the players on Friday morning.

"They're a young group," Murphy said. "They're kids. They know there are things they can't control and one of the things they can control is how they play on the field.

"They're very receptive to Coach Kelly. He's been an assistant for a lot of years, and there's a level of comfort there."

Washington Township, which is No. 5 in the Inquirer preseason rankings, will open the season at 11 a.m. Saturday at Toms River North. The Minutemen were 17-9 last season.

Murphy said Alvaro Jr. said he needed to resign for "personal and family reasons."

Alvaro Jr. also has been the girls' soccer coach at Washington Township. He said he hasn't given any thought to continuing in that capacity, since that position is filled on an annual basis.

"It's not even my job right now," Alvaro Jr. said.

Alvaro Jr. coached baseball for 21 seasons, including the first five at Williamstown. His teams won 375 games.

He led Washington Township to the only state title in program history, as the 14th-seeded Minutemen won Group 4 in 2007.

"It was not an easy decision," Alvaro Jr. "I've been doing it a long time. Someday, maybe I can get back into it.

"But I need to take care of some family situations."