Middleton High School Head Coach Harry Hubbard accepts his award from Bucs' Head Coach Jon Gruden
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers flew into the 2004 season in a position that was unfamiliar yet comfortable: they were under the radar. The Middleton High School football team also knows what it is like to be taken somewhat lightly.
For the Tigers, though, that feeling changed on Wednesday when Middleton Head Coach Harry Hubbard was recognized as the Buccaneers "High School Coach of the Week." Many of Hubbard's players and assistant coaches accompanied him to the Buccaneers' facility for the presentation ceremony, a tour and a viewing of the morning practice.
Coach Hubbard has been coaching football for 28 years, including 20 in Hillsborough County. Prior to being named head coach at Middleton, Hubbard spent time at Plant High School, Jefferson High School, Monroe Junior High School and College Hill Junior High.
"First of all, I give honor to God for this award," said Hubbard. "On behalf of the coaching staff, my players, the principle and the school I think this is a great honor. I just don't have the words to say how much it means."
Hubbard has Middleton off to a 2-1 start so far this season after defeating Alonso and Chamberlain. The Tigers also nearly defeated perennial state powerhouse Hillsborough, losing by one point in an overtime thriller. Middleton's schedule does not get any easier, but Hubbard has his team focused on the task at hand. Hubbard's players clearly believe in him and are ready to meet the challenge head-on.
After taking pictures with Hubbard and his players, Buccaneer Head Coach Jon Gruden had some words of advice and encouragement for the group.
"Never stop fighting," said Gruden. "Just keep pounding. Remember – it's not how you line up, it's where you end up."
For Hubbard and company, Gruden's advice might turn into a mantra of sorts for the season. Gruden also asked the group for some good luck for his team this Sunday.
"It's a great honor talk with Coach Gruden," said Hubbard. "We look up to him – he's a great coach. It means a lot for him to talk to our players."
Hubbard 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.