It is already that time of year again where the season has come to a close for most teams and with that comes the time where we start to watch to see what programs will have new leader heading into 2019, which will be the first year of a new two-year classification cycle that has yet to determined from the FHSAA on what things will look like for football.
As such let’s get things started with the in-season changes that took place
In-Season moves at Wildwood and Oak Hall
Wildwood became the first team to see a change in head coach and it came just after the first regular season game that Wildwood dropped to P.K. Yonge 25-6.
According to the Leesburg Daily Commercial, McGuire resigned after meeting with school administrators in which a difference of opinion in the direction the Wildcats’ program was going. McGuire took the route of stepping down rather than being terminated.
McGuire was shocked after the way things unfolded after a kickoff classic and regular season game into his tenure as head coach after arriving in July with only a month to prepare for the season.
“I was pretty shocked. I had previously requested a meeting with the school administration to talk about some other things and this is what happens. I certainly didn’t plan to step down, but it was obvious to me that I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to continue on as coach,” McGuire told the Daily Commercial back in August.
J.B. Bynum, who was the offensive coordinator at the time, was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season and has since led the Wildcats to their second straight playoff appearance. Last week the No. 6 seed in Class 1A-Region 4 upset No. 3 Frostproof 28-27 to advance to this week’s regional semifinals. They will travel to Pahokee’s Anquan Boldin Stadium to take on the No. 2 seeded Blue Devils.
Meanwhile in Gainesville, the man who led Oak Hall to its best season in school history in 2016, stepped down due to personal issues several weeks into the season.
Matt DiBernardo, who took over the Eagles’ football program in 2015, lead the program to a 25-6 record up to the point of resignation that included the 2016 North Florida Football Conference championship.
According to the Gainesville Sun, DiBernardo, who turns 50 this month, said he wanted to spend more time with family which includes a 9-month old baby son.
I have spent the last four years with all my time and energy for Oak Hall, and I wouldn’t change that in the world. I’ve neglected some stuff. I have a 9 month old baby. I really need to get some things in order. Oak Hall has been great to me,” DiBernardo told the Sun.
RJ Fuhr was named the interim head coach for the Eagles for the remainder of the season and lead them to a No. 4 seed in Class 2A-Region 2, which allowed them to host their first home playoff game in 39 years, which they fell to Deltona Trinity Christian 35-7 in the regional quarterfinals.
Varnadore sees a higher calling
Just two seasons after taking over the Citrus football program, Nate Varnadore has stepped away for a position with a higher calling after going through a tragedy this season when the Hurricanes lost one of their own in Alec McMurray.
In a tweet he shared right after the season was completed, Varnadore express how his decision came about when he was a simple question: “Are you truly doing what God wants you to do?”
That question has such, led him to be presented an opportunity to go into the ministry and as such led to his resignation as the head coach, calling it one of the hardest decision he had to make.
Varnadore will stay in Inverness to help serve the community through a different capacity to help continue to develop young men and women.
God Bless and GO CANES! pic.twitter.com/yOoNl7mSax
— Nate Varnadore (@CoachVarnadore) November 5, 2018
Kevin Sullivan hangs up the head coaching whistle for good
The days of legendary Jacksonville-area and FACA Hall of Fame coach Kevin Sullivan roaming a sideline as a head coach is over after spending the last three seasons as the leader of the Commanders.
Sullivan, who first announced the news on his Twitter account last week, said he had walked the sideline for the last time after 27 years as a head coach.
It will be a transition for him as he gets ready to retire from the Duval County school system in two years time.
Among his Jacksonville-area stops beside Ed White, they include Atlantic Coast on the Southside which did not have losing season under his tenure as well as 11-years combined at Andrew Jackson where he found his biggest success in the area.
According to the Florida Times-Union, Sullivan finishes with a record of 191-103 wins across his coaching career that also included time at Deerfield Beach in South Florida and Port Orange Atlantic in Volusia County.
Ed White finished the 2018 season with a 4-6 record, just missing out for the change of District 4-6A title after a three-way tie in the district that was eventually won by St. Augustine on points.
Richard Tate out at Ridge Community
After just three years from returning to Ridge Community for his second tenure as head coach, Richard Tate is out as the Bolts’ head man.
According to the Lakeland Ledger, Ridge Community Principal said, “We just decided to go in a different direction with the program,” citing the reason why Tate was dismissed.
Tate told the Ledger that he was given the option to resign which he refused to take, leading to his dismissal.
“I said I’m not quitting, so I guess I’m fired,” Tate told Ledger. “Everybody has got to make their own choices, so I’m not going to second-guess the man. He did what he thought he had to do, to do what’s best for the school and the football program, I guess.”
Tate was the founding coach of the Bolts’ program when the school opened in 2005 and was there for 11 years between his two stints that was sandwiched in between a three-year stint at district rival George Jenkins in nearby Lakeland.
Tate plans to continue to coach he told the Ledger.
Ridge Community plans to form a search committee to hire a new coach but hopes to make a hire as quickly as possible.
DeMyer steps down after three seasons
Lake Gibson will be on the hunt for their next head coach after Doug DeMyer stepped down after three seasons as the head coach that included an appearance in the 2016 Class 6A state championship game.
DeMyer who took over in 2016 as head coach after his father Keith DeMyer stepped down, led the Braves to two district championships in 2016 and 2017, but fell short of the playoffs overall, going 4-6 this season.
As for the reason why DeMyer decided to step away? There really was not a particular reason for stepping down, he told the Lakeland Ledger.
“I think it was the right decision for me,” DeMyer told the Ledger. “There was nothing that contributed to me getting ticked off and say I’m done with it. After thinking through some things, I think this is in my best interest at this point in time.”
However, he has not closed the door to coaching in the future as he steps away from a total of over 15 years of coaching at Lake Gibson with a 23-12 overall coaching record in the three years of head coach.
Lake Gibson is currently accepting resumes for the open position.
Ziglar hangs it up after 43 years of coaching
Phil Ziglar, the longtime former Boone, and current Hagerty head coach is calling it a career after 43 years of coaching in Central Florida.
Ziglar, who has led the Huskies for six seasons, led his team to a 6-5 overall record this season, winning the District 7A-4 championship by upsetting district favorite Edgewater in Week 10 before falling to Robert E. Lee out of Jacksonville in the opening round of the Class 7A-Region 1 quarterfinals.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Ziglar has been an assistant at Colonial where he started at in 1976, eventually spending time at Oak Ridge and then becoming a part of the first coaching staff at Dr. Phillips when the school opened in 1987. In 1990, he moved over to Boone, becoming the head coach where he spent 23 seasons at leading them to the 2007 Class 6A State Championship at the stadium then-known as the Citrus Bowl, falling to Miami Northwestern.
Ziglar will retire once the current semester ends in December.
Changes in South Florida
Three schools in South Florida will be seeking new head coaches for the 2019 season.
First, longtime football coach Joe Zaccheo at Monsignor Pace is calling it a career after coming back several years ago to get the Spartans back on track. Zaccheo in his final season leading the Spartans to a 5-6 overall record and to the No. 4 seed in the Class 4A-Region 4 playoffs, before falling at home to Gulliver Prep in a close game.
Congratulation To Miami Monsignor Pace Head Coach Joe Zaccheo On A Great Coaching Career. One of The Best To Do It. @PaceSpartans @FlaHSFootball @SFHSSports #icon #character #success #winner @Billykid11 @coachtunsil @D_VanDyke8 pic.twitter.com/WqpPI8WxBW
— Blustein Recruiting (@larryblustein) November 10, 2018
In Broward County comes the two other changes with Christian Baldwin out after four seasons at Coral Glades in Coral Springs and Keith Franklin out at South Broward in Hollywood after just two seasons on the job.
For Baldwin, he was dismissed as the head coach, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported yesterday, but wasn’t totally surprised by the move that was made.
“I was [surprised], but I wasn’t,” Baldwin told the Sun-Sentinel. “Nobody’s bigger than the program. And if they feel they can get more out of these kids, by all means, that’s their choice, and I’ll abide by that.”
Baldwin finishes his time at Coral Glades with an 11-28 record, with his best season coming in 2016, going 4-6.
As for Franklin, the school and he decided to go separate ways as the school sought to go in a different direction, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“On behalf of myself and South Broward High School, we would like to thank coach Franklin for all his hard work and dedication towards the team,” athletic director Boomer Bray told the Sun-Sentinel. “We just felt it was his time to move in a new direction. The program will be [having] an ongoing search for the team’s next head coach.”
Franklin finishes his tenure at South Broward with a 7-13 record as the Bulldogs finished 2-8 on the season after losing multiple athletes to graduation and transfers during the offseason. He will remain with the school for now as a teacher and assistant athletic director.