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Nelson steps down as coach for Plant

Published December 10, 2003

TAMPA - Saying it was time for Plant's football team to go another direction, Darlee Nelson resigned Monday as Panthers coach after a six-year stint.

"I think I've done all I can do there," he said. "It's time for somebody else to carry the torch, and hopefully the Plant administration will get somebody in there who will take the kids' best interest to heart."

Nelson went 23-37 at Plant, including 1-9 this season. Nelson, however, has had plenty of success, including a 14-year run at Jefferson in which he won two county coach of the year honors and guided the Dragons to the state semifinals in 1996.

"It was a very difficult decision to make," said Nelson, who after playing offensive lineman for the University of Tampa from 1971-73 began coaching at Plant in 1974 as an assistant for Roland Acosta. "There were a lot of sleepless nights involved. I mean coaching has been a part of my life for a long, long time."

Nelson said he would look at other coaching jobs if they came up, but it would have to be the right situation.

"I'm not closing any doors," said Nelson, who will continue teaching at Plant through the school year. "I just thought stepping down (at Plant) was the right decision for me."

[Last modified December 10, 2003, 01:34:25]


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