Plenty of coaching hires around the area

Positions are filled at St. Francis, Buchholz and P.K. Yonge.


Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 11:57 p.m.

As the school season gets closer and closer to the summer break, you can count on coaching changes being made before the final days.

St. Francis will have a new football coach after the spring game in former Winter Springs assistant David LaMarre and a new athletic director in David Fallo, who is currently the school's softball coach.

LaMarre and Fallo will replace Matt Olesnevich, who has served as AD and football coach at St. Francis since 2010. Olesnevich, who is coaching spring practices at both St. Francis and his new school, St. Augustine St. Joseph, will formally relinquish his football duties after the Wolves spring game May 17.

“It has always been one of my goals to be a head coach at a Catholic high school” LaMarre said. “I am Catholic. I saw that they have done some good things in a short period of time. I like the small school atmosphere where everyone knows each other.

“Going through the interview process with Mr. (Ernest) Herrington (principal) and meeting with Matt Olesnevich, I thought it was a beautiful campus in a great location and a great opportunity for me. I feel very fortunate.”

The Wolves, who went 3-7 in 2012, have yet to make the state playoffs. They won't have that opportunity the next two years because the school has decided to go independent in football.

“I will meet the team in the next week or so,” said LaMarre, who has been as assistant at Winter Springs for three years and an assistant previously at Bishop Moore for six years. “I will take over after the spring game. That week we will have some meetings, definitely be there for summer. On June 10, we will start an eight-week program of lifting and conditioning. That will bring us up to August.”

Fallo said he is looking forward to his additional role as athletic director at the school.

“I love sports,” he said. “I think we are an up-and-coming program, that has some pretty strong athletes coming back. Our golf team did very well, and obviously our volleyball did great (3A state finalists) and will be good again and for years to come. Our boys basketball should be OK, girls basketball should be more competitive and baseball and softball will be improved.”

Also just in the last week, two prominent volleyball programs in Gainesville have different coaches in charge, taking over for those who left after one season

Buchholz has hired former Gator volleyball player Jacque Robinson Huggins, replacing Justin Dee, who accepted a head coaching position at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss. Dee, who will complete his teaching in mathematics at the school, led the Bobcats to their first state tournament since winning it all in 2007.

P.K. Yonge also made a volleyball hire, its third in three years, bringing aboard Chad Davis, who is the executive director of Gainesville Juniors. A longtime assistant for Cindy Boulware at Gainesville High, Davis led Tallahassee Chiles to the state 5A finals in 2005 and Ocala Vanguard to the final four in 2010.

Huggins, an outside hitter/middle blocker for the Gators from 2000-2003, has been out of coaching for a year with the birth of her second daughter, Alyson (three months). Adrienne, her other daughter, is just 18 months. She coached at Daytona Beach Father Lopez for three years (2009-2011), and prior to that coached at Okeechobee (2007-2008), leading the Brahmans to their last playoff win in 2008.

“We moved back to Gainesville in October because my husband (Alex) had his internship in chiropractic and we decided to make Gainesville our permanent home again,” she said. “I have been gone for seven years, so it was nice to be back.”

Last fall, Buchholz (27-6) lost a five-set thriller to state champion Naples in the Class 7A semifinals. That team had seven seniors, led by Gaby Rubeis, Caroline Redmond and Olivia Reed.

“I know Buchholz had a pretty good team last year, and they did graduate seven players,” Huggins said. “But all the returning players look pretty good to me. I met some of the players last week and last night. They have been very welcoming.”

Buchholz will be in a District 3 next fall, along with Jacksonville Atlantic Coast, Orange Park Fleming Island and Neptune Beach Fletcher.

“High school volleyball is my favorite level to coach,” Huggins said. “I have never been interested in coaching college. I love the whole school spirit. I'm really pumped about it.”

Davis is equally excited about taking over at P.K. Yonge, where Nirelle Hampton resigned to pursue other opportunities.

The Blue Wave, regional finalists five of the last six years, will be moving up to Class 4A next fall in District 5, which also includes Bradford, Fort White, Interlachen, Keystone Heights and Santa Fe.

“I am extremely excited about what we will be able to do next fall,” Davis said. “I want to teach them to be a really true team and reflect in their play. There is a lot of talent that needs to be balanced and work together.”

Among the players returning are all-area players Jordyn Saulsberry, Kayla Simmons and Jac'cara Walker. Davis has coached Walker and some other players who are among the Gainesville Juniors' teams heading to the national championships in club volleyball this summer.

“P.K. Yonge players Ebony Harris, Jac'cara Walker, Sammy Mueller and Kiki Sermons, I've coached both of those teams they are on that team that qualified for the national championships,” Davis said. “There is a lot of talent there. I just want to take them to that next level. It all starts with that foundation of a team working together. We get it rolling in August.”

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