tampabay.com

The Buzz

By JOHN C. COTEY and IZZY GOULD
Published March 28, 2007


Off to the West Coast

The courtship of Jim Ceccarelli sounds more like the wooing of a college coaching candidate than anything else.

How many high school administrators fly across the country to visit a candidate in his home for two hours then bring the family to the West Coast for five days to see if it's a good fit?

A Pasco County candidate would be lucky if the hiring AD gave him gas money and told him to super size his lunch.

So ends the reign of Bishop McLaughlin's first varsity football coach. Ceccarelli will coach at Tri-City Christian School in Vista, Calif., just north of San Diego.

"We had a very good time with the people there," Ceccarelli said. "My wife and I both felt like this was the place for us and accepted their offer."

Ceccarelli had long sought a teaching gig at Bishop McLaughlin but never got an offer. Instead, his family lived in Brandon and he looked into a various non-education-related jobs while he juggled coaching the Hurricanes.

At Tri-City, Ceccarelli will coach football and be the director of development. He went 8-11 in two season at Bishop McLaughlin, including 7-4 in the Hurricanes' second season of varsity play.

"The football team is on solid ground," Ceccarelli said. "I feel we have improved steadily year after year. I expect great things for them in the future."

In a statement, Hurricanes athletic director Mike Zelenka said he hopes to have a replacement in place by the start of spring practice. We tried calling to see if Zelenka might be interested. After all, Zelenka played at Notre Dame in the 1990s and was an assistant with the Hurricanes both seasons.

Ceccarelli thinks he would be a good fit.

"The kids love him," Ceccarelli said. "He's very energetic. He's a great coach and I think he'd do very well if he were to take over."

Pirates rising

The Pasco baseball team, still cruising along at 15-0, moved from No. 6 to 2 in the latest Florida Sportswriters Association poll.

Behind Quintin Jones' grand slam, Pasco beat Wiregrass 26-0 Monday, improving on what is believed to be the best start in school history. Pasco's state ranking also is the best that coach Ricky Giles can recall. He said in 1997, the year the Pirates reached the state title game, the team was ranked as high as No. 2.

Permission granted

Pasco got approval from the FHSAA to play four games this week and will make up an earlier contest against Hudson today, followed by games Thursday vs. Gulf and Friday at Zephyrhills.