Lake Placid High School hired three new coaches to fill vacancies for the Green Dragons football and baseball teams, as well as its newly-launched wrestling program.
Jason Robinson will take over as head coach for the Dragons football team, replacing seven-year man Jason Holden. On the diamond, Tim Ferguson replaced D.W. Daum after only one season. Josh Miller was hired as wrestling coach, and the former Sebring standout will be building the program from scratch.
“We’re really excited about the new hires,” said Lake Placid Athletic Director Jon Million. “There’s a lot of optimism about the fall and we can’t wait to get started.”
Million, who attended Lake Placid in the 1980s, is especially upbeat about wrestling.
“We maybe had a team maybe 30 or so years ago, but it’s basically a new venture for us.”
Miller, who will be coming over from Sebring, is only a few months removed from taking a handful of Blue Streaks to the state finals. A standout wrestler for the Streaks, Miller was a three-time state qualifier and reached the podium twice.
“It was an honor to coach at Sebring,” Miller said. “It was amazing to get the chance to give back. But I’m up for the challenge at Lake Placid. Right now, we’re working to get everything in place for a club team next season, and hopefully after one year we’ll be able to get sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic Association.”
While the Dragons won’t be eligible for wrestling’s postseason in 2015, they’ll still be able to compete with Sebring and Avon Park as an independent. Miller, though, is used to working from the ground up. When he started at Sebring, less than 10 kids came out. The team had quadrupled by the time he left.
“Right now we’re really in the fundraising phase,” Miller said. “It’s more expensive than most people think to put on a wrestling match. There’s a lot of overhead. But a lot of the coaches in the area are really great about helping out.”
Miller will also be helping out the Robinson, serving as an assistant for the varsity and head coach of the junior varsity.
“Wrestling and football really benefit each other,” Miller said, and he speaks from personal experience. Miller was also an integral part of the Streaks football squad.
“The offensive side of wrestling — controlling people, taking them down — translates to the defensive side of football to things like chops and throws,” Miller said. “And the defensive side of wrestling — staying up, keeping your balance, perfecting your form — translates to the offensive side of football.”
Miller’s expertise is what attracted Robinson.
“We really clicked on our philosophy for the program,” Robinson said. “We’ve already had a light practice and we’re looking forward to a productive summer.”
Robinson comes to Lake Placid after three years at Ocala’s Lake Weir. A Florida native, Robinson graduated from Lemon Bay, which has been a thorn in the Green Dragons side for the past few seasons.
“It will be fun to go down there and coach from the other sideline,” Robinson said. “And from what I hear there’s no love lost between the two programs.”
The Dragons won’t be in pads until August, and Robinson said his top priority right now is getting kids out to the gridiron.
“We’re trying to round everybody up and get the word out for kids who might be on the fence about football,” he said. “We want them to hear our message.”
Lake Placid opens the season on the road. The Dragons travel to Okeechobee Aug. 22 to take on the Brahmans in the annual Kickoff Classic. Lake Placid officially opens the season Aug. 29 at Roger Scarborough Memorial Field against Celebration.
Ferguson, meanwhile, dwarfs both Robinson and Miller’s coaching resumes. A baseball coach at nearly all levels, Ferguson’s experience is what made him stand out to Million.
“We’re excited for him to come to down,” Million said. “He’s coached at the collegiate level, the high school level, the little league level, and even some minor league baseball. But he’s also going to bring the academics side of it. He’ll be teaching social studies, and since academics is a primary focus, it was a win-win to bring him on board.”