St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com

printer version

Dixie caps its busy summer

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 21, 2002

So much for Walter Weller's summer vacation. The Dixie Hollins principal has been too busy filling out a coaching staff.

In the past month, Weller has hired coach-es for baseball, volleyball and boys and girls basketball to cap one of his busiest summers in six years at Dixie.

He's not complaining, though. In fact, he sounds thrilled.

"I'm excited," Weller said. "On the surface, it may look like serious problems (with so many openings), but boy, have we got some super, great people to replace those that left."

Dixie's athletic program has improved in recent years as the girls basketball, soccer and volleyball teams have all seen marked improvement.

Some circumstances beyond Weller's control have led to openings. Boys basketball coach Tom Topping left for Seminole feeling it was a better job. But volleyball coach Deborah Benson got married and moved to Hawaii, girls basketball coach Gina Wilkerson's husband took a job in New Jersey and others retired, according to Weller.

"We just had some weird cases where coaches got married and moved away, but hey, it's Hawaii," Weller joked.

Coaches Weller has hired recently include some familiar names:

Ron Abernathy will take over as boys basketball coach. Abernathy is no stranger to the Tampa Bay area, serving a two-year stint as coach at River Ridge and compiling a 12-35 record from 1994-96.

Abernathy left River Ridge to become a principal in Tampa.

He was 97-11 from 1972-76 at Shawnee High in Louisville, Ky., and was an assistant at Louisiana State for 13 years under Dale Brown, the last three as associate head coach in charge of recruiting. Abernathy has said he was responsible for recruiting Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf) to LSU.

He also was head coach at Tennessee State from 1989-91.

"He brings us some high caliber stuff," Weller said. "This was a perfect fit for him."

Dave Morgan will coach girls basketball. Weller said Morgan is trying to sell his home in South Carolina, where he has been a college assistant and head coach.

Dixie graduate Tim Reynolds takes over the volleyball team.

A longtime coach at Madeira Beach Middle School, Reynolds is also a club coach with Gulf Coast Juniors.

Weller said Reynolds' assistant, Laura Bowditch, also was hired. Bowditch was the coach at Pinellas Park Middle last year.

Brennan Hervey was given the full-time baseball job after serving as interim coach the last month of last season.

Hervey replaced Frank Burke, who resigned, and impressed Weller enough to get the job.

Like Hervey and Reynolds, new boys cross country coach Taylor Henderson is a Dixie grad. Henderson, previously at Boca Ciega, was hired in Arpil.

Pam Madura, a former college basketball player, was hired as a girls soccer assistant coach, and will coach the girls flag football team.

"Overall, I'm happy with the coaches we got," Weller said. "Having so many openings could have been a disaster, but with these coaches, we got people who know what we're doing."

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright
 

From the Times sports desk

British Open
  • Slammed
  • Showing up from middle of nowhere

  • Motorsports
  • NASCAR joins exhaustive coverage trend

  • NFL
  • Heat will be an issue for teams to monitor

  • Storm
  • Storm gets its victory in final game of season

  • Baseball
  • Dodgers closer key to pennant

  • Et cetera
  • Highs & lows

  • Preps
  • Dixie caps its busy summer
  • Two Citrus Park teams lead way
  • Palm Harbor wins two in major baseball play

  • Letters
  • Math not Rays' best subject

  • Rays
  • Ready or not, here's Crawford
  • Creek bids farewell with sights on future
  • Rays road skid is at 13
  • Rays tales
  • A mistake from start, Alvarez's time limited

  • Bucs
  • Great expectations, this time from within
  • Plenty to learn as camp starts
  • Southern Fryed

  • Lightning
  • Feaster says team staying on course


  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts