Jim Guderian becomes the fourth Crusaders coach in the past 15 months and looks to turn around a 1-9 team.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2001
TAMPA -- Ten days before the start of spring practice, Tampa Catholic finally has a football coach.
Jim Guderian was hired Friday as an English teacher and the Crusaders' new coach. He met with students Friday and will oversee spring practices beginning May 7.
Guderian, 50, has more than 20 years of high school and college coaching experience in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi. He most recently served as offensive coordinator at Jesuit High in New Orleans.
"He's got plenty of experience, and he's a good teacher," TC athletic director Nick DiMaggio said. "That's what we wanted."
Guderian was chosen following a national search that attracted 25 to 35 applicants, TC principal Brother Dave McMahon said.
"He has a real commitment to excellence both athletically and academically and a real commitment to developing good young men," McMahon said. "That was very impressive and came through loud and clear with us."
Guderian coached at Manhattan High in Jackson, Miss., and St. John High in Plaquemine, La., in the late 1970s. He also served as offensive line coach at Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Mississippi in the late '70s and early '80s.
"I've only been through two losing seasons in all the years I've been in the game," Guderian said. "I've been very fortunate in that I've always been around programs where there were enough athletes to play."
Though he currently resides in New Orleans, Guderian has ties to Hillsborough County. Two of his cousins graduated from TC in the mid-70s, and his daughters, Gretchen, 12, and Laura, 10, live with their mother in Tampa.
"I wanted to get back in this direction to get closer to my daughters," he said.
Guderian becomes TC's fourth coach in 15 months, including Curran Lane, who served as interim coach for the final four games of last season.
Lane replaced John Diehl, who resigned in October for personal reasons. Diehl's departure came just seven months after he moved his family from upstate New York to take the job.
Bob Henriquez and most of his staff left TC for Jefferson in January 2000. Henriquez, the coach for nine years, cited "an overall difference in philosophy" with the administration as the reason for resigning. McMahon said Diehl's situation did not discourage the school from hiring another out-of-state coach.
"We don't have a concern there at all," he said. "I think you've got to take each case individually instead of rushing into something. We wanted to be sure we were comfortable with the fit and that we had identified the best person. And so we took the extra time."
Guderian said he looks forward to the challenge of rebuilding a program that went 1-9 last year, snapping a string of six consecutive playoff seasons.
"I can't change what happened in the past," he said.
"I'm here. It's up to me to move forward from here and convince these kids I'm here for the duration and let's get into the boat and row."
RESIDES: New Orleans.
FAMILY: Daughters Gretchen, 12, and Laura, 10.
EDUCATION: B.A. in English from Southeastern Louisiana (1975).
EXPERIENCE: Has more than 20 years of high school and college coaching experience in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee and Mississippi, most recently serving as offensive coordinator at Jesuit High in New Orleans.