Sunlake narrows AD search to three

Published March 27, 2007

Last week, Sunlake got its nickname - Seahawks.

This week, it could get its athletic director and football coach.

The newest Pasco County high school could name an AD as soon as today and a football coach by the end of the week, according to principal Angie Stone.

Stone and assistant principal Kim Davis have narrowed their choices to three for athletic director, culled from a list of 12 applicants. Once they hire someone, they will begin working on the first football coach.

"We'd like to name an athletic director before we begin interviewing for football," Stone said.

The list of 14 football applicants includes current county defensive assistants like Gulf coordinator Brian Wright, Ridgewood coordinator Brian Wachtel and defensive backs coach Lynne Simmons, Land O'Lakes' Tom Carter and Wesley Chapel's Bud Hodgens, who is expected to take over as defensive coordinator this year, replacing Tom McHugh, who was hired to coach Pasco.

Hodgens is one of several applicants with head coaching experience.

Former Hernando head coaches Matt Smith and Bill Browning applied, as did former Gaither and King coach Joe Severino, who resigned in January.

A pair of successful county middle school coaches are in the mix as well.

Tim Boggess, athletic director and head football coach at Seven Springs Middle School, led his team to a 6-0 record last year, outscoring opponents 219-12. Jeremy Shobe coached John Long Middle to a 4-2 season last year and is an assistant at Zephyrhills.

Stone said local businessman Jim Barbarise, a former coach in New York and out-of-county applicants Derrick Saddler, Tom Michael and Charles Ruocco, currently at Tarpon Springs Middle, also applied.

Because the Seahawks are going through spring football this spring, Stone is hoping to make a hire soon.

The team will practice at Pineview Middle beginning May 1, but an oncampus facility will be ready to go by the start of school.

The Seahawks will play their first home game, a preseason contest, against Bishop McLaughlin on Aug. 24.

Stone said she only had to finish checking references and doing background checks on her finalists before making a decision on athletic director.

Included in the 12 are familiar faces like River Ridge girls basketball coach Al Sorrentino, Mitchell girls basketball coach Stephanie Koslin and Gulf volleyball and girls soccer coach Shari Schau.

Others who applied: Barbarise and Boggess, who applied for both jobs, Lonnie DeWitt Gulf, Matt McDermott (Zephyrhills assistant football and wrestling coach), Flo Massaro (former Hudson girls basketball coach), John Larry (Berkeley Prep), Rob Apple (Cambridge School), Debra Stacy (Stewart Middle) and Greg Dew (Paul Smith Middle in Hillsborough).

"Whoever it is will have to hit the ground running," Stone said. "But we think we have a very good list of choices."

John C. Cotey can be reached at johncotey@gmail.com or (727) 869-6261.

Fast Facts:


Sunlake applicants

Athletic director

Lonnie DeWitt

Shari Schau

Jim Barbarise

Matt McDermott

Tim Boggess

Flo Massaro

Al Sorrentino

John Larry

Rob Apple

Debra Stacy

Stephanie Koslin

Greg Dew

Football coach

Matt Smith (former Hernando coach)

Brian Wright (Gulf assistant)

Jeremy Shobe (Zephyrhills assistant/John Long)

Tim Boggess (Seven Springs)

Brian Wachtel (Ridgewood assistant)

Tom Carter (Land O'Lakes assistant)

William Browning (former Hernando coach)

Jim Barbarise (Former coach in N.Y.)

Derrick Saddler

Joe Severino (former King, Gaither coach)

Bud Hodgens (former Robinson coach, Wesley Chapel assistant)

Lynne Simmons (Ridgewood assistant)

Tom Michael (Inverness)

Charles Ruocco (Tarpon Springs Middle)