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Several might apply for Pirates opening

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2003

DADE CITY -- Pasco's football coaching vacancy was officially posted Monday, starting the process to find a successor for Ricky Thomas, who stepped down last week after seven seasons. Pasco principal Pat Reedy said the mandatory listing with the district school board will run for 10 days and he would like to hire a coach by the end of the month.

One candidate is Pasco defensive coordinator Will Dettor, who earned praise from Thomas during his first season on the staff. Just 24, Dettor is in his sixth season as a high school coach.

"It's something I have considered, and I probably will apply," said Dettor, who spoke with Reedy on Monday about setting up the team's offseason conditioning program, which normally would have started today.

Dettor has organized a team meeting for Thursday, where Reedy will speak to players about the coaching search and future of the program. Dettor said he does not know if any other assistants will apply. The Pasco program, which earned the county's only state title in 1992, is strong enough that the opening could draw interest from current head coaches. Hudson coach Terry Voyles, an assistant on the '92 team, said Monday he thought about the job all weekend but has not decided about applying. "It's tough to leave my kids because I feel a loyalty to them," Voyles said. "This is definitely an opportunity any coach in Pasco County would like to have."

Voyles interviewed for the position in 1996, when Thomas succeeded Perry Brown, and Voyles said he wouldn't be surprised if Brown were interested in returning. Brown indicated before the season he would be looking for a fresh start after this season but could not be reached for comment. Longtime Zephyrhills assistant Chris Bounnell, who also interviewed in 1996, said he would likely not pursue the opening. Bounnell, who as offensive coordinator helped the Bulldogs to a district title and first-round playoff victory, said he is happy enough with his job that he doesn't want to take on the added responsibilities that come with a head coaching job.

"I feel like Pasco would be an excellent opportunity with the great tradition they have," said Bounnell, whose job as an assistant affords him time to spend with his 5-year-old daughter, Sydney. "But I love working at Zephyrhills. It's been a really great place to work."

Another possible candidate is former Pasco assistant Johnny Clower, who has spent the past three seasons at Weightman Middle School, where he started as an assistant under Thomas 10 years ago. Clower, who has continued Thomas' success at Weightman, said he isn't sure if he would apply, though he has been approached by players about doing so.

Thomas said he does not want to endorse any candidate but warned any interested parties that the job, while rewarding, comes with challenges.

The addition of Wesley Chapel three years ago cut into the east-side talent pool the Pirates draw from, and Voyles shared the sentiment that the program's successful history makes for high expectations.

"It's a great job," Voyles said. "But you can win six games and still be in trouble."

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