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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
With a list of coaching candidates from around the area, Lecanto decided on a familiar face.
It hired junior varsity coach Jim Manos for his second go-round as coach.
Manos went 23-25 in 1991-92 before resigning to become the athletic director at Lecanto Middle School, where he remains a computer teacher.
Manos was an assistant for two years before that under Doug Connors, who led the Panthers to a region title in 1989.
This past season, the Panthers' JV went 15-4. Manos said he was happy as JV coach, but when the opportunity came up to coach varsity, he went for it.
"I'm a baseball man, and I have a passion for the game and compassion for the kids," he said. "I had a great experience this year with the JV team, and that doesn't mean it will translate to varsity. But I wanted to continue on in some capacity. I'm humbled that they wanted me."
That Manos already was acquainted didn't land him the job, but it helped, Lecanto AD Dick Slack said.
"We were looking for a great teacher who could put Lecanto High School baseball on a firm footing," Slack said. "He's familiar with our program and with our kids, and he's got extensive knowledge of the game and a lot of experience."
Manos replaces Bruce Sheffield, who stepped down after going 5-16 in 2005, saying the program needed to go in a different direction.