Hillsborough High's football team has flourished under Coach Earl Garcia, who follows the same simple plan every season
Over the last two weekends, both the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles lost, ensuring that once again no NFL team will go undefeated in 2004. Hillsborough High School recently accomplished that feat, however, when they defeated Jefferson 29-28 in an overtime thriller last Friday.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Hillsborough Head Coach Earl Garcia their "High School Coach of the Week" in recognition of his team's perfect regular season. Garcia and four of his assistant coaches watched practice and toured the Buccaneers' training facility prior to receiving the award after the morning practice.
"It's great being able to represent Hillsborough High School and our whole community," said Garcia. "Having a chance to share this with some of my assistants and see how the big guys are doing is really inspirational. It just makes us want to go back and work harder."
Coach Garcia has been at the helm of the Hillsborough program since 1992. During his tenure, the Terriers have amassed a record of 114-25, the best 13-year span in the school's 100-year history. In addition, Hillsborough has gone to playoffs in each of Garcia's 13 seasons as head coach, including this year. His 6A State Finalist team in 1996 set a Hillsborough County record for victories by going 13-2.
So far in 2004, the Terriers are 9-0 and ranked fifth in the state. The perfect regular season marked the fourth time Coach Garcia has accomplished this feat at HHS.
"We had a plan 12 years ago, and since then we've just tried to keep things simple," he said. "We try to be consistent with our players and love them and teach them how to block and tackle. We've kept the same plan in place for years and years and we've been very lucky – we've won 114 times and lost 25, so we must be doing something right over there."
Garcia was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" certificate signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Buccaneers General Manager Bruce Allen and Gruden. He also received football autographed by Gruden. In addition, a $1,000 donation to his football program will 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.