Jesuit High School's Bill Schmitz has brought college influences to the school's program
Replacing a local legend can be tough – just ask Tampa Bay Buccaneer players Anthony McFarland and Jermaine Phillips. Those two men began the 2004 season with weighty expectations on their shoulders and large shoes to fill. Jesuit High School's Head Football Coach, Bill Schmitz, knows that feeling all too well.
So far, all three are meeting the challenge quite well.
In fact Schmitz, who replaced Jesuit legend Dominic Ciao, was named the Buccaneers' "High School Coach of the Week" in a ceremony after Wednesday's morning practice. Schmitz and his team captains watched practice and toured the Buccaneers' facility. So far, Schmitz's Tigers are 2-0 with victories over Robinson and state-ranked Suwanee.
"Any time you win a coaching award, it's a group effort," said Schmitz. "Between myself and my staff, we had great preparation last week against Robinson. Our players executed our game plan, and it was a huge win to get us at 1-0 in the district."
After coaching for 22 years in the collegiate ranks and one overseas in the World Football League, Schmitz stepped in as head coach at Jesuit. He has installed a unique system at Jesuit, one that heavily reflects his college coaching background. In addition to an increased focus on strength and conditioning, Schmitz's players regularly watch and critically evaluate film. In many ways, Schmitz's up-tempo practices and emphasis on off-the-field preparation resemble a college program.
"It's been a continual effort," said Schmitz. "People like to talk about starting 2-0 this year, but I look back and see that we won four out of our last five games last year. This thing started to turn around during October last year, and we've really had continual progress since then."
Schmitz served as an assistant at Columbia, Cincinnati and Rice, and was the offensive coordinator at both Eastern Michigan and Vanderbilt, where he helped recruit Buccaneer linebacker Shelton Quarles. He was also head coach of the Coast Guard Academy and Austin Peay State University.
Schmitz was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" award signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Jon Gruden, and a football autographed by Gruden. A $1,000 donation to his football program will also be awarded.
If you know a coach that you feel is deserving of being the Buccaneers "Coach of the Week" please click here and submit his or her name, school, county and reason he or she should be selected.
Several factors are taken into account when selecting the Buccaneers Coach of the Week recipient, including the coach's impact on his team, school and community. The program is designed to recognize high school coaches who transform, through their hard work and dedication to young people, the best available athletes into high-potential football players.
All schools in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota are eligible regardless of size, league or division.