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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.
Springstead coach Craig Swartout wanted to bring stability and a winning attitude to the boys basketball team.
He did that in two seasons, guiding the Eagles to back-to-back district titles and a 40-17 record. But during that time, Swartout found juggling the major winter sport with softball to be too much so he will step down as coach. Swartout will keep coaching the softball team, which he has led for six years.
It was a difficult decision for Swartout because he said he promised his rising seniors he would stick around one more year.
"I made that promise early in the year, and it was becoming difficult to do both sports, " Swartout said. "There's a lot of stuff that goes on in coaching that people aren't privy to. It takes its toll on you."
The two sports naturally overlap - the boys basketball district tournament was held about a month after the first day of softball practice. And the fact the boys basketball team went farther than districts extended the juggling challenge. The basketball team's season ended in mid February with a region quarterfinal loss to Orlando Bishop Moore. By then, the softball team was playing games.
Swartout attributed the basketball team's success to the players.
"Any time you have a group of kids that are willing to work hard and do what it takes, then you're going to be successful, " Swartout said.
Springstead athletic director Bob Levija said Swartout would be missed in that role. "He's done a really good job, " Levija said.
Anyone interested in the open position should contact Levija at 352 797-7010.
OTHER SPRINGSTEAD OPENINGS: Longtime coach Fred Hudson plans to retire after 22 years at the helm of the boys track and field program, Levija said Thursday. Levija added he is looking for boys and girls swimming coaches.
Anyone interested in either opening should contact Levija.
FULL CONTACT: You've seen the sights of spring football this week - players carrying helmets, stretching in lines and grunting their way through noncontact drills.
But today those practices will smack with animation. Today is the first day players can dress out and hit the sled, tackling dummies and each other. It's the moment most of them have been waiting for.
BASEBALL SHOWCASE: The National Scouting Report will hold the Gold Coast Baseball showcase June 13 at Wharton High in Tampa. The showcase will be held at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and professional scouts will rate all players. The top players will receive invitations to advance to a regional, then national showcase. A college recruiting session will follow at 6 p.m.
For more information and for registration, visit www.nsrshowcases.com/baseball or contact Greg Wiley, area director of the National Scouting Report, at (813) 963-2028 or by e-mail email@example.com