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Sunlake taps Bulldogs coach as AD

Published March 28, 2007


When it came time for Sunlake principal Angie Stone to pick an athletic director, she wanted someone whose ideas meshed with hers, who had a grasp on organizing athletics, who was looking for the same thing in a coach and the same requirements for athletes.

That person was Matt McDermott.

The Zephyrhills wrestling coach the past four seasons as well as the Bulldog football team's defensive coordinator, McDermott was picked by Stone late Monday night to steer her athletic program into the future.

McDermott was selected from an initial field of 12 candidates; in the end it came down to him and Gulf volleyball/girls soccer coach Shari Schau, Stone said.

"We were looking for someone whose philosophy matched up the most with ours, and we found that in Matt," Stone said.

An AP environmental science teacher at Zephyrhills, McDermott won't assume his new responsibilities full time until the summer. With a new baby at home and his teaching commitments, however, he will have to strike the right balance to line up Sunlake with its initial slate of coaches.

First and foremost will be the football opening, which Stone is beginning interviews for today.

"Matt will be asking for some relief time so he can sit in on the football interviews," Stone said.

McDermott's expertise should come in handy when choosing a football coach. Like McDermott, three of the applicants are defensive coordinators Gulf's Brian Wright, Ridgewood's Brian Wachtel, Wesley Chapel's Bud Hodgens. Two are defensive coaches (Land O'Lakes' Tom Carter, Ridgewood's Lynne Simmons). Jeremy Shobe was on the same staff as McDermott as the Bulldog offensive coordinator in 2005-06, and former Hernando football coach Matt Smith is the Leopards' wrestling coach.

Sunlake begins spring football practice May 1 and will play a varsity schedule next season.

Stone also said Monday she hopes to have most of her coaching positions filled by mid-April, including baseball, basketball and soccer.

The toughest position to fill might be boys basketball, which has a slew of familiar names among the applicants.

Gulf boys coach Steve Feldman, girls coach Mike Quarto and former Countryside boys coach Bob Marinak have applied, as has Ridgewood boys assistant Jason Szymanski and Nature Coast boys coach Travis Priddy.

Joeyn Dearsman, a 2002 Ridgewood graduate and the first Rams girls basketball player to accept a Division I-A scholarship, has applied for the girls basketball job. Currently an assistant at Wesley Chapel, Dearsman set county records for 3-pointers made in a game (eight), season (80) and career (154) while at Ridgewood.

Former Gulf girls basketball coach Buck Dewitt, a longtime area coach in a number of high school sports, also applied.

The biggest names applying for the boys soccer job are former Gulf star and coach Sam Koleduk, Seven Springs Middle School coach Vince Schell and current Blake coach Diptesh Dechovdhury.

Land O'Lakes assistant Billy Garcia is one of nine applicants for the head baseball job, along with Land O'Lakes youth coach Ray Clark, longtime area principal and coach Rob Aguis (currently at Marchman Technical Education Center), River Ridge baseball assistant Al Sorrentino and current Chamberlain coach Dick Rohrberg, who led the Chiefs to the Class 5A state semifinals in 2002.

While the deadline to apply for most of the jobs has passed, Stone will be seeking volleyball applicants until Friday. The sport was supposed to be listed with the initial batch of openings but was accidentally omitted and has been relisted.

John C. Cotey can be reached at or (727) 869-6261.

[Last modified March 27, 2007, 23:58:21]

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