Coaching shake-up for area football programs


Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 11:41 p.m.

Two of the area's better small school football programs are in search of new coaches. And as a product of one of those moves, another area coaching slot was filled.

On Tuesday, Andrew Zow announced his resignation as athletic director and football coach at Union County, while Derek Chipoletti, formerly the athletic director and football coach at Williston, accepted the coaching job at Bradford on Friday.

Both coaches said their decision to move on was a difficult one.

"It was a hard thing to do, I let the football team know (Tuesday)," Zow said. "There are some things that I have to handle from a personal standpoint."

Zow, the former Tigers standout quarterback who went on to star at Alabama, will shift more of his focus to his family and to the business he owns.

"My goals and dreams of coaching does not outweigh the time I have to put in with my family," Zow said. "I have three young boys. I think being a part of their lives and what they are doing, I want to be more of a part of that."

He is also the president of Andrew Zow & Associates, Inc., which is a corporation that associates themselves with manufacturers and suppliers in the utility and automotive industries.

"I have owned a business in Alabama since 2003 and I'm starting another division of that company," Zow said. "The opportunities I have in business, I just can't let pass by right now."

On the field, Zow compiled a record of 15-16 in three seasons as coach of the Tigers. A bowl-game victory over Baldwin capped off Union County's 8-3 season in 2008, but the Tigers failed to make the regional playoffs during that three-year span.

"We didn't accomplish all of our goals on the field in terms of w's, but I feel we accomplished some goals that we set in our personal lives," said Zow, who admitted that he doesn't see himself coaching again right now. "It was very hard. I have built relationships, (the players) are like my own kids, they have become my kids' big brothers. I will be there for them no matter what."

Zow, who called the rumor linking him to the Alabama quarterbacks coaching job "false", said he will finish out the school year at Union County. As for Zow's successor, UCHS Principal Alex Nelson said the search for a new coach will begin immediately with the goal of having a new coach in place before spring football.

"I didn't have any idea, I was very surprised," Nelson said. "He said that he wanted to spend quality time with his young children. I will always support that.

"He will be a hard man to replace because he is a quality person, but we support his decision and wish him the best."

Zow said offensive coordinator Brian Tomlinson, who is also the school's baseball coach, would be a great fit as the next Tigers coach.

Nelson agreed, calling Tomlinson, "an excellent candidate." The principal said that he will be involved in the search, which will be headed by Superintendent of Schools, Carlton Faulk.

"The community has been perfect, I couldn't have asked for a better administration and team," Zow said. "I'm going to miss it."

Chipoletti leaves Williston after just one season, in which he guided the Red Devils to a 7-4 record and a berth in the Class 2B playoffs. He inherits a Bradford team that was 4-6 last fall under coach Steve Hoard, who was fired following the season.

"There were a lot of reasons I made the move. Bradford has always been a dream job of mine," Chipoletti said. "It is a rare occasion where it is a one-school county and the principal and the superintendent assured me that I would be able to bring a staff and bring coaches in that I am comfortable working with."

One of those coaches joining Chipoletti, is his dad Neal, the former Orange Park Fleming Island coach. Chipoletti spent six seasons at Fleming Island working under his father as offensive coordinator. He said his dad will also serve as Bradford's athletic director next year.

"Moving closer to home was a little bit of a factor and being able to bring my father in," Chipoletti said. "Those two things worked out perfectly."

Chipoletti, whose last day at Williston will be Feb. 3rd, said goodbye to his Red Devils team on Friday.

"These kids will always have a special place in my heart, it ripped my guts out to have to tell them," Chipoletti said. "That was the hardest thing for me to do as a coach."

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