Countryside High's John Davis (right) accepts his Coach of the Week award from Jon Gruden
The Countryside High School Cougars finished their 2002 football campaign with six wins and four losses, not a bad mark for first-year Head Coach John Davis. That was nothing, however, compared with the season Davis' Cougars have had in 2003.
Since starting the '03 campaign 2-2, the Cougars have reeled off six straight regular season wins and two playoff victories to advance to the final eight in the Florida High School Football Class 4A Championship tournament. Not only is that the furthest Countryside has ever advanced in the state tournament and the most wins ever recorded by the school, but it also leaves the Cougars as the last Pinellas County team standing in any division.
This Friday, the Cougars face the top-ranked team in the state, Armwood, in a battle to see which team will advance to the final four.
"It's a huge game," said Coach Davis. "They're number one in the state, so we have our hands full. It's going to be a huge challenge for us, but our kids right know, they believe in what we're doing and we're going to try and give them the best game that we can."
On Wednesday, Davis was rewarded for his part in turning around the Countryside football program by being named the Buccaneers High School Football Coach of the Week. At a ceremony on the practice field, Coach Davis was presented with a framed "Coach of the Week" certificate, signed by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, General Manager Rich McKay and Coach Gruden. He also received a football autographed from Gruden and a Buccaneers Coach of the Week hat from the team.
In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Davis will also receive a $1,000 donation to his Cougars football program and had the added bonus of watching the Buccaneers' morning practice.
"This is awesome," said Davis. "You come over here and you see the best athletes in the world. For them to open up to high school coaches is really a tremendous thing and we certainly appreciate it."
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 or her 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.