Wesley Chapel High School's John Castelamare has helped the football program develop since its inception in 1999
On Wednesday, John Castelamare, head coach of the football program at Wesley Chapel High School, met Jon Gruden, the seventh head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. In a way, Castelamare might have also felt a kinship with the first Buccaneer head coach, the late John McKay.
McKay assumed the reins of the new Tampa Bay team in 1976, and the constraints of building an expansion team in that era led to some tough times in the first two years. By 1979, however, McKay remarkably had the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
Castelamare has made similarly quick strides in his guidance of the Wesley Chapel program, and on Wednesday, October 23, he was recognized by the NFL and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his efforts, as he was selected the Buccaneers "Coach of the Week."
Coach Castelamare is the first and only coach Wesley Chapel has ever had, as he took over the program during its inaugural season in 1999 and led them to an undefeated regular season and District Championship in 2001. So far this year, Coach Castelamare has led the Wildcats to a 6-1 record, during which they've outscored their opponents 260-42 and recorded three shutouts.
At a ceremony on the practice field at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday, Coach Castelamare 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.
"It's an honor to be selected," said Coach Castelamare. "Not too many things happen like this to high school coaches. It's great that the Buccaneers do something like this for the coaches in our area. I was proud to come down here and bring my wife. We got to see some of the players, talk to Coach Gruden and see the practice. It was an honor. It's just a great day."
In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Castelamare will also receive a $1,000 donation to his Rams 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.