Berkley Preparatory School Head Coach Frank Sullivan trades Buccaneer talk with Jon Gruden
When the game clock finally expired, one could see the confidence on the Buccaneers' sideline, clear as day. These Bucs had the kind of swagger only an undefeated team possesses.
No, not those Buccaneers, though they are one of the hottest team in the Bay area. The NFL's Bucs have maintained their own high level of confidence despite a tough start, but they haven't been undefeated into October since 1997. These Buccaneers represent Berkley Preparatory School, and they're off to a dominant 6-0 start in 2004.
Head Coach Frank Sullivan's Bucs defeated Northside Christian 70-20 last Friday to improve their record to 6-0 on the season. To recognize this success, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers named Sullivan their "High School Coach of the Week" in a ceremony after Wednesday morning's practice.
"Anytime you win an award like this it goes to the whole program," said Sullivan. "These kids had a lot to do with me getting this award, and it's just an overall award for the whole program."
Coach Sullivan has been head coach at Berkley for five years. During his tenure, the Buccaneers are 32-21 overall and 18-4 in the Bay Conference, which they won in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Sullivan was named the Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 13 Coach of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2003, and he has produced 33 All Conference athletes.
Prior to being named head coach, Coach Sullivan served as Berkley's offensive coordinator. Under his direction in 1996, the Buccaneer offense was ranked second overall in Hillsborough County. In just six games this season, the Berkley offense has scored 223 points.
Achieving success the likes of which Coach Sullivan has enjoyed is not particularly easy, especially at a Class A school. However, he does not use his school's size as an excuse – to him, football is simple no matter what level it's played at.
"I think football comes down to basic fundamentals and things of that nature," he said. "It doesn't matter what class we're in. Our kids may have to learn a little bit more and play a couple more positions, but our kids are football players like at any other school."
Sullivan 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, 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.