Florida high school football coaching updates: James Thomson steps down at Winter Haven
When it comes to high school football around the Sunshine State, it’s unique compared to the other 49 around the country. It’s become a 365 days a week sport in terms of training and also transition when it comes to head coaching positions.
This off-season following the conclusion of the 2022 campaign has seen major overhaul when it comes to head coaches around the state and we look back at the week when it comes to who stepped away and who was hired. Plenty of new coaches are popping up, with some familiar names deciding to move on to new ventures.
James Thomson steps down at Winter Haven
After just one year at the helm for the Blue Devils, Thomson went ahead and stepped away to give Winter Haven’s administration time to find a new lead man.
Thomson announced on Wednesday via Twitter that he would be stepping down as head coach after one season. He had a record of 8-4, clinching a playoff berth in Class 4S and winning a playoff game, defeating Land O’ Lakes 29-14.
Thomson followed up longtime head coach Charlie Tate, who had been in charge since 2005. Tate had an overall record of 122-56 during his time at Winter Haven.
Louis Murphy steps down as head coach at Gibbs
The former NFL wide receiver returned to his roots of St. Petersburg, FL to run the Gibbs Gladiators’ football program.
On Tuesday, Murphy made one of the toughest decisions and announced his resignation as the Gladiators’ head football coach on Tuesday. He compiled an overall record of 13-18 through three seasons at Gibbs.
This past 2022 season was the most trying of three seasons for Murphy, a former Lakewood standout wide receiver, as the program went 2-8 and faced some turmoil early on. Gibbs began the campaign at 0-8 before finishing strong with victories over Boca Ciega and St. Petersburg.
Demetric Jackson steps away as Columbia head coach
In one of the more surprising coaching resignations of the off-season, it happened up in Northern Central Florida.
After making a deep run in the Class 3S state playoffs all the way to the state semifinals, Demetric Jackson stepped down as the school’s head coach last week.
Jackson leaves the Tigers after compiling an overall record of 15-9 in two seasons with the school. Columbia is coming off a successful playoff run, which included a berth at states after defeating Choctawhatchee 2014 in overtime in a region final. The Tigers eventually lost to eventual state champion Lake Wales, 37-7.
It comes as a surprising move with the team winning back-to-back district championships under Jackson’s watch.
Centennial names Jacob Turay as the new head coach
Sometimes promoting from within gives you your best results.
That’s the route the Centennial Eagles decided to go in as they tabbed 27-year old Jacob Turay as their next head football coach. This past season, Turay was on the Eagles’ offensive staff and helped coordinate the offense in a co-coordinator role.
The Eagles finished with a 6-5 record, clinching a berth in the Class 4S regional quarterfinals. Turay played his collegiate ball over at Lake Erie College at the linebacker position.
Other coaching changes (hirings/resignations) around the state
Brandon High School: Bruce McCaleb (hiring)
Carol City: Dorrean James (resignation)
Mulberry: Brad Metheny (hiring)
Homestead: Ronnie Thornton Jr. (hiring)
North Fort Myers: Dwayne Mack (resignation)
Oakland Park Northeast: Kevin Claxton (hiring)
Riverdale: Kendoll Gibson (hiring)
Somerset Silver Palms: Matt Dixon (hiring)
Southwest Florida Christian: Bill Moore (resignation)
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.