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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Week: Earl Garcia

The Buccaneers and the NFL honor local high school coach Earl Garcia, who has helped turn the Hillsborough High program into a county and state powerhouse


High School Coach of the Week Earl Garcia accepts his honor from Bucs' Head Coach Jon Gruden

From the early days, it was clear this was a coach on the fast track. He began his coaching career at the age of 22 and first ascended to a head coaching position at the age of 32.

This probably isn't the coach you're thinking of, even if that particular fast track sounds familiar. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden did begin his coaching career at age 23 and first took over a team of his own at age 34. The impressive resume above, however, belongs to Earl Garcia, head coach at Hillsborough High School.

On Wednesday, these two men met and compared notes, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers honored Garcia their High School Coach of the Week.

Since assuming the reins of the Boca Ciega High School program in 1982, Garcia has helped build winners at Gaither High and Hillsborough High. Since he took over at Hillsborough, Coach Garcia has built the program into a local power, even leading the Terriers to the Class 6A State Championship in 1996.

So far this year, Hillsborough High has posted a 4-0 record, while outscoring their opponents 186-37.

Coach Garcia has earned many honors throughout his career on the high school level, but was particularly pleased to receive recognition from the men in the pro ranks.

"I think it's a great gesture that the NFL and the Buccaneers specifically do something like this to recognize the high school coaches," said Garcia. "We really appreciate it and to be able to represent Hillsborough County and Hillsborough High School is a great honor for me. We're all Bucs fans and it's really neat to be able to come out and watch practice and meet the coach. It's a great honor and a great thrill."

At a ceremony on the practice field at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday, Coach Garcia was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" certificate, signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, General Manager Rich McKay and Coach Gruden, along with a "Coach of the Week" hat and a football autographed by Gruden.

In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Garcia will also receive a $1,000 donation to his Terrier football program.

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.

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