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Local Sports

Avon Park football coach resigns

Published:   |   Updated: March 12, 2013 at 04:39 PM

Avon Park High School is looking for a new football coach after first-year head coach Lee Brown resigned on Wednesday.

Brown, who led the Class 4A Red Devils to a 1-9 record, will continue his teaching duties at the high school.

"Coach Brown offered his resignation and I accepted it," said Avon Park Principal Tealy Williams. "He will continue to teach and coach track for us. We felt it was time to give someone else the opportunity to coach the team and lead us in a different direction.

"We appreciate all of coach Brown's work and the positive things he has accomplished."

Brown, who was an assistant coach for 25 years, came to Avon Park from Lutheran North High School in St. Louis, Mo. He helped the Crusaders improve from 4-7 to 9-3 in his first year.

Avon Park defeated Tenoroc in its Preseason Classic, but numerous injuries to key players and a tough schedule led to a disappointing 1-9 record.

The Red Devils suffered through a season-ending 36-0 loss to county rival Sebring as well as a 33-6 defeat to district opponent Lake Placid.

An immediate search is under way for a new coach and Williams is hoping of finding the right person from the staff at Avon Park High School.

"We're looking for a new coach and our focus right now is to look from within," Williams said. "We've advertised in-house first because we do have a few folks who have expressed an interest in the position.

"If we can't find the right person from here at the school, then we'll move on and advertise the position on a wider basis."

Brown, who played running back at Lincoln University, got his coaching start at Berkley High School in St. Louis.

He replaced former coach Andy Bonjokian in February of 2012, after the Red Devils struggled to a losing record in Bonjokian's last season.

The Red Devils have a long and illustrious history of success on the gridiron and are looking for the right coach to lead them back to prominence.

"We have some great people on our coaching staff," said Avon Park Athletic Director Mort Jackson.

Avon Park would like to have a new coach in place as soon as possible.

"I'm not looking for a certain type of coach," Williams said. "We want to draw upon all of the strengths of the school to have athletics complement what's going on in the school.

"We need to be connected as a school, and we have a tremendous amount of coaching expertise on our staff with people who are part of the community and have relationships with our students."

Spring football practice begins in May with Avon Park playing its spring classic later in the month.

"The success of the football program doesn't just rest on the shoulders of the head coach," Williams said. "The success of the program is interwoven into the overall health and morale of the school.

"We wanted to stop and see what we had because we've made a lot of progress in reviving school spirit, and we're in a different position than we were last year." (863) 386-5837