This year, the Coach of the Year might end up being one of the hottest debated topics we’ve seen on the boards and in the barber shops. There’s literally dozens of candidates–obvious or non-obvious–that could have their cases made for winning the title throughout the six counties. The obvious candidates involve those that have won at-or-over 10 games plus still alive for the playoffs. The not-so-obvious is a mixed bag of those STILL in the hunt for Orlando–and those that are sitting at home–but with plenty of reasons to consider their seasons successful and worth the title as well. Here now are some “outside” suggestions of our own.
William Dickerson – Santa Fe Catholic
It might not be fair to label him as an outsider due to the fact that if you win the most games in school history, when the first state championship in school history and finish undefeated for the first time since the programs’ inception in 1964–that should get you “automatic” consideration. The “rub” is that the Crimson Hawks won a title in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference Independent Division. Some may use that as ammunition to doubt their accomplishment–we say he’s a no-brainer for consideration regardless the level of competition.
Tommy Lewis – Victory Christian
Two-thirds of the roster is underclassmen and having to replace virtually the entire core of the team due to graduation for the defending 2A State Champs. Now have won six of their last seven games after an 0-4 start and in pretty good position to defend their title–even with a district rematch on the way. If the Storm make it all the way back to Orlando–this one’s for the record books.
Wayne Peace – Lakeland Christian
May seem like an obvious choice due to the fact the Vikings were yet again successful and in the playoffs. But Peace’s ability to adjust the injury of his starting QB lost to injury and still win as many games as LCS did–with the schedule they had–is a reason we are emphasizing.
Chris Davidson – Tenoroc
Three-straight 1-9 seasons for the Titans–including Davidson’s first season in 2014. This season, their best record in program history (6-5) and that’s with a two-game losing streak at the end. The Titans were mere seconds from making the postseason if not for last-minute drive by Bishop Verot.
Reggie Crume – Palm Harbor University
The ‘Canes were 1-9 last season and it was looking bleak in that part of Pinellas for the PHU Family. After a very slow start against the Mustangs of Mitchell in the fall preseason classic, they defeated East Lake in week one to set the tone and made it 6-4 on the season.
John Warren – Southeast
You never want to be the guy–that follows the guy–and that’s Warren’s been assigned to do for a proud program that’s looking to find their way after Paul Maechtle retired. It took the Seminoles two years to win five games, and they were 1-9 last season. But even after bowing out to Dunbar in the first round last week in the Class 5A playoffs, the ‘Noles were in the playoffs nonetheless and made it to a .500 finish in the regular season.
Jeremy Earle – Jefferson
Lose your starting QB and not have the services of one of your most-talented players due to ineligibility issues–plus start the season 0-4–yet get to the second round of the playoffs with a 5-6 record and that should get you automatic consideration–but what we are trying to say is that Earle’s resume this season is beyond “outside” in our eyes and almost worthy of being on the short-list designation for the whole thing.