As Alonso High School's third head football coach in as many years, Brian Emanuel has a challenging task ahead of him. Following consecutive losing campaigns, the Ravens handed the reins to Emanuel, who was tasked with righting the ship for the Hillsborough County program.
If the start to 2011 is any indication, Emanuel is well on his way to succeeding in that task.
Alonso's win against the Durant Cougars on Friday, September 9, marked the team's second win in as many tries under Emanuel's direction. The team's victory not only put them at 2-0 on the year but also earned Emanuel the title of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' High School Coach of the Week for Week Two of the 2011 season.
A major factor in the 26-5 win over Durant was the Cougars' stifling defense, which included four fumble recoveries off of Durant miscues. In the third quarter alone, Alonso's Brandon Holloway recovered two loose footballs for touchdowns.
On Thursday, Coach Emanuel, along with Athletic Director Brian Grantham, Assistant Coach Greg Callahan and Emanuel's father, Frank, visited the Buccaneers training facility. For Frank Emanuel, it was not his first encounter with the local NFL franchise. In 1982 and 1983, he served as Tampa Bay's special teams coach under Head Coach John McKay.
It was no surprise, then, that the younger Emanuel followed in his father's footsteps, embracing the opportunity to coach the game he loves. Having been raised in a football family, the Ravens' head coach was thrilled to tour One Buccaneer Place and meet his counterpart with the Bucs, Head Coach Raheem Morris.
"Being a Buccaneers fan all my life, it's a great honor to be able to come out here," said the younger Emanuel. "It's such an outstanding facility. The Buccaneers have done such a great job."
Along with a signed certificate, Buccaneers hat and personalized football presented by Morris, Emanuel received a $1,000 donation to go towards Alonso's football program. Emanuel also plans to use his experience at the Buccaneers' facility to motivate his players and hopefully continue their winning efforts in 2011.
"When you're able to come and see the Buccaneers…I think you go back and you tell your team that it's reachable," said Emanuel. "All you have to do is believe. You never know – one day, I may have a couple of Buccaneers that played for me. That would be great."
The Buccaneers will honor 10 high school coaches from Central Florida during this year's prep football season. A Coach of the Year, who receives an additional $1,000 for his football program, will be selected from the 10 weekly winners at the end of the season. The Buccaneers and National Football League's Coach of the Week program aids in the development of youth football, which has a positive influence on young athletes and the communities in which they live.