The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have named Coach Nate Varnadore from Citrus High School this year's High School Coach of the Year.
Varnadore led his team to 5-4 in his first season as head coach, tied first in the district and completed its first winning season for the program since 2013. A Palmetto native, Varnadore spent the 2016 season away from the gridiron but returned to the Friday night lights at Citrus High School in Inverness, Florida.
"The community is the reason I won this. They rallied around this. That's just a small part of what the community is capable of, and the support they show to our kids", says Varnadore. "They know the vision for our program is to make our young men great men for the future. It's a very exciting day to be a Hurricane"
Varnadore was selected as the Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week during Week 9 through an online voting poll. The Buccaneers have honored nine high school coaches from West Central and Central Florida during this year's prep football season. Each coach was invited to One Buccaneer Place, where they received a tour of the team's training facility and an opportunity to watch practice. Following practice, Coach Koetter presented each coach with a personalized Coach of the Year football and a $2,000 donation from the NFL Youth Football Fund to the school's football program.
As Coach of the Year, Citrus Hurricanes receive an additional $1,500 to go towards the football team. Before the Buccaneers game against Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Varnadore was greeted on the sidelines by representatives of Tampa Electric Zap Cap Systems, who proudly presented him the award before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders presented him with a surprise. As the Buccaneers High School Coach of the Year, Varnadore received a trip for four to Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.
When asked what's next for the Citrus Hurricanes and the football program, Coach Varnadore says, "Be the Standard." "Our motto this year was 'Be the Standard' and that includes community, classroom and on the field. We're going to stay with that and that's what our program is about."
The High School Coach of the Week program is a league-wide initiative designed to recognize area high school football coaches who display a strong rapport, commitment to player safety and involved in community programs. Tampa Bay area high school football expert, Dan Lucas from WFLA selects all nominees and finalists are chosen by an open voting poll.