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Plant pitching coach takes Robinson helm

The Knights tap Gregg Suazo to become their new coach, replacing Bill Akins.

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 8, 2001


TAMPA -- Gregg Suazo has a broad playing and coaching background in baseball.

But his eagerness to work with special education students might have been a bigger factor in his ability to land Robinson's coaching job.

Suazo, formerly Plant's pitching coach and a physical education teacher at Eisenhower Middle School, was hired to coach baseball and teach the specific learning disabilities program.

He replaces Bill Akins, who resigned after four years to move to Georgia.

"We feel (Suazo) is going to be a good asset to that program and working with those types of students," said Tommy Morrill, Robinson's assistant principal and athletic director.

Suazo was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

Morrill said binders containing biographical information, credentials and evaluations, which Suazo brought to the interview, made him stand out among the eight candidates for the job.

"He's very organized," Morrill said. "I was very impressed with his overall philosophy of education and his background."

Suazo was hired as coach at Boca Raton Olympic Heights last year but left before the season to move to Tampa to get married, Olympic Heights athletic director Dave Currier said.

At Plant, Suazo prepared the pitchers and called pitches during games. The staff's 2.41 ERA was the lowest in former coach Pat Russo's six seasons.

"I think he did a good job in what we asked him to do," said Russo, who now coaches at Hillsborough. "He had our pitchers ready, and he did a good job with what he had to work with. He was really efficient at his job."

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