John Benedetto of Land O' Lakes High School chats with Bucs Head Coach Jon Gruden after receiving the Coach of the Week award
When Land O' Lakes High School Head Coach John Benedetto took over the Gators program in 1977, Jon Gruden was just a freshman in high school. Twenty-five years later, with Gruden now pacing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' sideline, Coach Benedetto is still the boss at Land O' Lakes.
On Wednesday, the two met on the practice field at One Buccaneer Place, as Coach Gruden awarded Coach Benedetto for his hard work and commitment, announcing his selection as the Buccaneers "Coach of the Week."
At the ceremony, Benedetto was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" certificate, signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Gruden and Buccaneers General Manager Rich McKay, along with a "Coach of the Week" hat and a football autographed by Gruden.
"It's wonderful to win this," said Benedetto. "Every award that you win is because of the people around you and this is a tribute to all my assistant coaches and players. Coming out to practice was great, too. We were able to pick out some things that they were doing that we're going to install in our practices. It was educational for me and it was great to see the players and their enthusiasm, concentration and motivation."
In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Benedetto will also receive a $1,000 donation to his Gators football program.
Coach Benedetto and his Gators are 12-0 this season and face Palm Bay on Friday in a Class 4A Regional Final.
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.