St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Hudson assistant coach to lead team

Mark Nash, 38, takes the place of head coach Terry Voyles, who was fired in January.

JAMAL THALJI
Published February 26, 2004

HUDSON - Pasco County's newest high school football coach didn't return to Tampa Bay from Florida's east coast looking for a job.

Mark Nash came for love.

He left his first job as head football coach at Fort Pierce Central High in 2002 to be with his fiancee, Michelle Frechette, in Dunedin. But he still wanted to coach, finding a job as an assistant at Hudson High in 2003. When head coach Terry Voyles was fired by the administration in January, Nash put his name in.

The couple hasn't set a date yet.

But they can rule out football season.

Nash, 38, was promoted to head football coach at Hudson High by principal Greg Wright on Wednesday. Nash is the eighth football coach in the Cobras' 30-year history.

"I don't know any other way to win but to outwork your opponent," Nash said. "That's what my (modus operandi) is. We're going to outwork whoever we play."

When Voyles was fired Jan. 19, he was coming off a 4-6 season. By Hudson standards, that's a decent record: The Cobras haven't had a winning season since 1986. Voyles, who was 15-34 at Hudson, criticized the lack of support from the school and parents.

Wright now wants Nash to do what he believes Voyles did not: better organize the program, on and off the field, and build bridges with the community.

"You need the support of the community, not only from the booster club," Wright said. "You also need good community relations, building support through businesses, just putting your best foot forward."

Wright was impressed while watching Nash as an assistant.

"I've been very keen on Mark in my observations," Wright said. "His passion of the game, his knowledge of the game, and he's a player's coach as well. He has a sound plan for what he wants, for how to build the program."

On Friday a search committee led by Wright pared down a list of 12 applicants to three: Nash, Nature Coast Tech coach Tommy Keeler and Deltona assistant Larry Getts. The committee picked Nash on Tuesday afternoon, and Wright told him Wednesday. The football coaching supplement in Pasco County is $2,676 for the fall and $1,189 for the spring.

This is Nash's second head coaching job. In his first job, he took Fort Pierce Central to the playoffs in both of his seasons there, 2001 and '02. He graduated from the University of South Florida in 1995 with a degree in finance. His coaching career started at St. Petersburg Catholic as an assistant from 1999 to 2000. From 2000 to '01, he was Dunedin's head junior varsity coach. In 2003 he served as offensive coordinator at Hudson. He also teaches math there.

He now lives in Dunedin with his fiancee but hopes to move closer to Hudson when her daughter graduates from high school in two years.

Leaving Fort Pierce Central wasn't easy, he said.

"I really wanted to stay there," Nash said. "We had built up the program. We had a lot of good things on the horizon. It wasn't a situation where I wanted to leave, but she couldn't move so I had to."

Now he's glad he landed at Hudson.

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.