"Nothing drove me away," Tatum said. "I have many great memories from Harrodsburg. Nothing happened to make me have to leave. I just felt like I had been there so long and done all I could do.
"After a certain time, you just need to move on. I do hate to leave, but the opportunity to move to a bigger school presented itself without me having to relocate my family. I didn't want to move away from here. My wife and I both went to school at Mercer County, so I have ties there, too."
He could not meet with his returning players
Tatum, who had already resigned as athletics director, could not meet with his returning players because of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association-mandated dead period that prohibits a coach from having contact with players until July 12. However, he did call his returning seniors.
"I didn't want them to hear it from somebody else. I think it went as well as it could when I talked to them," Tatum said. "This is the first time I've ever considered making a change. That made it even more difficult. I let my players know if there was anything I could do for them, I would. I wanted to make sure I left on good terms because I've had a great 11 years.
"Everybody at Harrodsburg has been extra good to me. I wanted to make sure there were no hard feelings, but I had to do what was best for me and my family."
Harrodsburg High School principal Wade Stanfeld has already started making calls about a new coach and teacher. He also posted the job opening immediately on the Internet. He's confident the Pioneers can have a coach and teacher in place when school starts in less than a month.
"It does make me have to scramble a little bit, but I am pretty sure we still have time to get a good teacher and coach," Stanfeld said. "I am not going to panic right now. I might get to that point in another week, but not now.
"He had a decision to make and we respect his decision. I understand why he's leaving. We just have to make sure we get someone equally good to replace him in both the classroom and on the basketball court."
Tatum hopes the Pioneers can do both quickly. "Nothing drove me away and I wish nothing but the best for Harrodsburg. I know this is late, but I know they can still get a good coach," Tatum said. "I wish nothing but the best for them and appreciate the opportunities they gave me these last 11 years."