PHU's Mannino dressed for success


Published March 3, 2006

PALM HARBOR - Perhaps Mike Mannino's girlfriend should start getting his wardrobe ready for every match next season.

She purchased and picked out a different shirt and tie combination for the first-year Palm Harbor coach before all five potential playoff matches before the Hurricanes' postseason run. And Mannino got to rip all five out of the package.

Mannino guided PHU to its second state championship in school history, earning him this season's Times Coach of the Year.

"It's a tremendous honor with all the great coaches we have in the area," Mannino said. "But ultimately it's a testament to the level of play the boys maintained all the way through the state championship."

A week after the PHU girls captured a state title, the Hurricanes equaled the feat with a resounding 3-0 win against defending state champions Auburndale. It was the Bloodhounds' second loss of the season and first time they had been shutout.

"That was a tremendous effort by our boys against a team that had proven what they were capable of," Mannino said.

PHU won 26 matches this season and twice defeated Countryside, Pinellas County's other state champion.

"Mike has just done a tremendous job in just his first year with that team," Countryside coach Dave Sica said. "He and the team deserve every accolade and honor they have received."