BRADEN RIVER — Rather than focusing on conditioning regimens and game plans, the Pirates are spending this offseason wondering who will be patrolling their sideline this fall.
On Jan. 12, Braden River High football coach Ed Volz announced he was stepping down from his position to serve as Sarasota High’s new coach.
“I was happy at Braden River … I liked the school and I liked the program,” Volz said. “It was just a better overall big-picture situation (at Sarasota). There was an excitement about having me there. They truly made me feel like there was no one else in America they would’ve (wanted).”
A former varsity assistant at Sarasota, Volz moved over to Braden River two years ago to serve as the Pirates offensive coordinator. In his first year, Volz, along with defensive coordinator Mark Rupprecht, who also came over from Sarasota, transformed a struggling team coming off a dismal 3-7 season into a playoff contender.
Volz was named Braden River’s interim head coach April 30 — the day before last year’s spring practices were scheduled to begin — after the resignation of former coach Josh Hunter, following a March 21 motor vehicle accident, which killed assistant coach Doug Garrity.
Volz led the Pirates throughout the spring, culminating in a 35-20 victory over Riverview in the spring game, and on June 4, Volz was officially named the program’s second coach.
Braden River finished 7-5 under Volz this season, defeating Winter Haven in double overtime to advance to the Class 3A-Region 3 semifinals for the second-consecutive season.
“We’ve gone through some pretty tough times here, and we appreciate the job that he’s done,” Braden River Athletic Director Bob Bowling said.
Prior to coming to Braden River, Volz served as the head coach at Hampton Bays High School, on Long Island, N.Y., and also coached at Iona College and Stony Brook University, both in New York. In 2002, Volz became an assistant at Sarasota High School, where he spent four years coaching the Sailors, leading them into the playoffs every year.
Volz replaces Bob Perkins, who resigned in December. The Class 5A Sailors finished 1-9 last season.
Joining Volz on the sidelines next year will be Rupprecht, who still teaches at Sarasota.
“Some people use the phrase ‘going home,’ and I guess you could say that was part of it,” Volz said. “This was an opportunity to go back and start from scratch and take on a program that has really struggled.
“We were really successful when I was there, and now there’s the opportunity to go back — and really go back — and do it for real this time as a head coach,” he added. “The excitement of going back to Sarasota and reviving and rebuilding that program is just exciting for me.”
Braden River will now form a committee of staff, former coaches and others, and it will be responsible for taking and narrowing down resumes and conducting interviews. Resumes will be accepted until Feb. 1.
Once the committee has narrowed down its top three to five candidates, Bowling and Principal Jim Pauley will conduct final interviews and make a decision. As of last week, Bowling said he already had 20 resumes to go through and the position had yet to be advertised.
“There’s no telling what’s going to happen,” Bowling said. “We’re just looking for someone who is going to have a commitment to the school and the kids in the program. I would like to see someone who’s going to be here for quite a while. We’re not interested in someone who sees this as a stepping stone, but instead we want someone who is going to make a commitment.”
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com.
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