By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 21, 2001
TAMPA -- Riverview coach Alex Albert led the Sharks to the playoffs twice in the school's four-year existence.
Starting next year, Albert will be leading a less successful team with a rich, 44-year tradition.
Albert, a 14-year head coach in Hillsborough County, accepted a head coaching position with Minerva High School in Minerva, Ohio, on Wednesday night. He will fly to Ohio on Dec. 27, when his hiring will be announced to the Minerva school administration, and will return to finish out the school year at Riverview.
"It is a prestigious program and a tremendous opportunity for me," Albert said.
"They (Minerva administrators) haven't hired a football coach or athletic director from outside the school system since 1965. It's really an opportunity of a lifetime."
Albert began his career as an assistant coach at Leto (under head coach Bill Ryan) in 1986, and became head coach the following year, leading the Falcons to two playoff appearances in 10 seasons.
He took over the Riverview program when the school opened in 1998 and improved the team from an 0-9 squad its first year to an 8-4 playoff team in 2000. Albert will leave Hillsborough County with an overall 70-73 coaching record.
After his father was killed in a car crash two years ago, Albert said, he and his family have been thinking about moving north to be closer to their relatives.
"I have a friend in Columbus who is always telling me how Ohio is fanatical about football, and they have a good retirement system there," Albert said. "Ohio has those Midwestern values, and it's a great place to raise your kids."
The Minerva Lions finished 2-8 this season and have been rebuilding after making the playoffs in 1997.
"I'm 41 years old, and I'm not going to have the opportunity to do this later in life," Albert said. "If it doesn't work, we can always come back."