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Ex-Storm owner has eye on Gaither job

"Bob Gries is a very serious candidate,'' Gaither athletic director Jim Pullin says.

By SCOTT PURKS

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001


"Bob Gries is a very serious candidate," Gaither athletic director Jim Pullin says.

TAMPA -- Bob Gries, the former owner of the Tampa Bay Storm, pulled out a surprise this week. He has applied for the coaching job at Gaither.

"I don't see it as that surprising at all," said Gries, whose teams won two Arena Bowl titles during the early 1990s. "There were a lot of successful business people from Cleveland, where I grew up, who got involved in high school athletics and developed great programs.

"I always admired that, and it's something I've always wanted to do."

Gries played high school football and was a wide receiver at Colgate before transferring to Michigan.

"And when I got to Michigan, a wide receiver by the name of Anthony Carter was playing for the Wolverines," said Gries, 43. "So that kind of ended my football playing days."

Gries' football roots run deep. His family held a minority ownership in the Cleveland Browns for 40 years until the team moved to Baltimore in 1996.

Gries, 43, is one of several candidates, the field of which could be narrowed today, according to Gaither athletic director Jim Pullin.

"Bob Gries is a very serious candidate," Pullin said. "He is an impressive human being who brings a lot to the table."

The Cowboys, who have qualified for the playoffs the past two seasons, lost their third coach in three years when Howie DeCristofaro resigned last month to become the athletic director and coach at Bradenton Manatee.

DeCristofaro replaced Mike Hobbie, who left after leading Gaither to its first playoff appearance since 1994 to coach at Sarasota High.

Hobbie took over after Gary Hallauer left after three seasons in which the Cowboys won five games.

Gries, who said he has "time to (coach) right now," would not teach at the school.

"I'm very sincere about this," Gries said. "I would love to build Gaither into a championship-type program."

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