tampabay.com

Coaches with magic touch

By MEYLA HOOKER
Published March 20, 2005


BOYS

A Countryside product, Dave Sica lives and breathes Cougar pride. Sica, 27, led his squad to a school-record 22 wins this season. The team's only three losses came by one goal and the Cougars led in each of those.

After a 15-8-4 record last year, the Cougars finished second in Class 5A, District 9, won the PCAC title and the Hurricane Watch Tournament and advanced to the final four for the first time in seven years.

Sica guided a squad that featured just two starting seniors. Seven starters were sophomores.

"When they win, it's them," Sica said. "When they lose it's me. We deserved to win this season. The kids and all the coaches put in the extra work. This is an individual award, but it should be a team award. As a coach you are only as good as your players and the staff around you."

GIRLS

The Rui Farias-led Green Devils have claimed three of the past four PCAC titles and three straight district titles. After playing through injuries all of last season, St. Petersburg rebounded with a 19-2-2 record and came up one game short of the final four.

Farias implemented a new system during the offseason. He brought the team in earlier than usual for conditioning and weight training. The Green Devils had detailed strategy meetings before each game this season. The hard work resulted in St. Petersburg advancing farther in the playoffs than any other squad Farias has coached.

"We've worked hard to build and excellent program," Farias said. "This team is now the most popular athletic team at the school. It has been amazing to witness the transformation first hand."