Chipoletti resigns as Bradford High coach for job at Orange Park Oakleaf

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 3:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 3:57 p.m.

Derek Chipoletti, who in two years led Bradford football to consecutive winning seasons and a Class 4A regional semifinal berth in 2011, announced his resignation Wednesday to become the head coach at Orange Park Oakleaf.

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Bradford High School football coach Dereck Chipoletti has resigned to become coach at Orange Park Oakleaf.

Matt Walsh/The Gainesville Sun

Prior to Chipoletti's arrival in Starke, the Tornadoes had back-to-back losing seasons and hadn't reached the state playoffs since 2004.

"I live in Clay County, and that is a big reason for the job at Oakleaf High School," said Chipoletti, who went 14-7 at Bradford. "This transition is bittersweet for me. I love this community and it has treated me and my family great. I look forward to the challenge at Oakleaf. It is the brand new high school in Clay County, and I look forward to establishing a winning program there."

He will remain a social studies teacher at Bradford for the remainder of the school year, said Principal Rick Stephens.

“The caliber of person Derek is, it was always possible he could go somewhere else,” Stephens said. “Travel and location had something to do with it, as well as a great opportunity. Everything Derek has done with us has been very positive and will remain positive as he will teach with us the rest of the year.”

This is Chipoletti's third head coaching job in four years. Prior to Bradford, he was the head coach at Williston, leading the Red Devils to an on-the-field mark of 7-4 (1-10 because of use of an ineligible player) and to the 2B playoffs in 2009. The Oakleaf Knights have only two wins in two season of football, and went 0-10 in 2011.

"I'm home," Chipoletti said. "When I left Fleming Island four years ago, I went on a mission to become a head coach. I would have gone as far as my wife would have let me at the time. Since then, I wanted to coach where it is convenient to my home. This is where I'm from and is where my wife is from."

Chipoletti said he is unsure at this point where his son, Austin, who is one of the area's top quarterbacks, will enroll as a senior next fall. “His mother lives in Jacksonville, and it has been hard on him not to be as close to her. I don't really know what will happen right now.”

Neal Chipoletti, Derek's father, will stay on as Bradford's athletic director.

Stephens said he expects a lot of interest in coaching at Bradford.

"It is a pretty good job," he said. "We will advertise it and put together a committee. The search will be to find someone who has the same values and work ethic that Derek has."

Contact Larry Savage at 352-374-5050 or And follow at

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