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Middle school coach takes over at Bogie


© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000

Harry Elifson might not have been a legend at Boca Ciega, but he was well on his way to such status.

In his 11 years at the helm of the Pirates' girls basketball program, Elifson captured two state titles, in 1995 and '96, plus three region and seven district titles in compiling a 237-84 record.

It's a tough act to follow, but Nathaniel Southern is going to try. Southern, the boys basketball coach at Azalea Middle School for the past two seasons, is the new girls coach at Boca Ciega.

"To follow someone like Harry, it's great," Southern said. "He's done such a great job and made the program something special. I'm just hoping to keep things going."

Elifson left Boca Ciega for South Florida, where he is an assistant coach on the women's team.

Southern, 35, coached the girls team at Azalea for nine years before taking over the boys team. He is a graduate of Emporia (Kan.) State, where he played football.

"I coached a lot of girls who went on to play for Harry at Boca Ciega," said Southern, citing Tia Miller, a Parade All-American who will be a freshman at Auburn this fall, and Alison Lamb, a 1998 graduate who plays for Saint Leo.

"I wanted to move up to the high school level, and this is a great opportunity."

Southern, who also will teach physical education at Boca Ciega, inherits a team that went 23-8 last season and was eliminated in the region quarterfinal.

Among the Pirates' returning players is rising sophomore Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen, a Times first-team all-Pinellas and all-Suncoast choice this past season.

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