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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach of the Year: Sean Callahan

Coach Callahan turned around a struggling football program at Armwood, then helped it win Hillsborough County’s first state championship since 1969 this year


Sean Callahan's Armwood High Fighting Hawks had three different 1,000-yard rushers this season

Not too long ago, in 1989, the Armwood High School football team finished its season 0-10.

Following that pride-swallowing campaign, however, Armwood administrators made a decision that would impact the Fighting Hawks' football program for years to come, in a very positive way, as it turns out. That decision was to hire Sean Callahan as the new head coach of the Hawks.

Since taking over the Hawks' program in 1990, Callahan has turned it into a state power, one that has been to the state playoffs six out of the last eight seasons. This year, Coach Callahan led his Hawks to an undefeated 15-0 record and a Class 4A State Championship, marking the first state football championship won by a Hillsborough County team since 1969, when both Blake and Pinecrest captured state titles.

"We're still flying high," said Callahan. "None of our feet have touched the ground since we've gotten back from Gainesville."

On Wednesday, Coach Callahan was rewarded for his efforts and all that he has done at Armwood High School, as he was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers High School Football Coach of the Year.

Several factors are taken into account when selecting the Buccaneers Coach of the Year 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.

Callahan has proven his commitment to his players and coaches (many of whom are former players in his program) over the course of the past 15 seasons, and his impact on the Armwood community has been immeasurable.

"Winning this championship for Hillsborough County and going 15-0 is unbelievable," said Callahan. "We haven't really grasped it yet."

As the Buccaneers' Wednesday morning practice ended, Tampa Bay Head Coach Jon Gruden congratulated Callahan and his staff on their incredible season. Gruden talked some football with Callahan, learning that Armwood amazingly had three different 1,000-yard rushers this season, and presented the Armwood coach with a framed "Coach of the Year" certificate, signed by Gruden and NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. In addition to the certificate, Callahan also received a football autographed from Gruden and a Buccaneers Coach of the Year hat from the team.

In addition to the certificate, hat and ball, Coach Callahan will also receive a $2,000 donation to his Hawks football program.

"It's an honor to be out here with Coach Gruden and his team," said Callahan. "It's nice to be associated with champions."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to congratulate the 2003 High School Class 4A State Champion Armwood Fighting Hawks.

The players for the Fighting Hawks are R.J. Anderson, Kalvin Bailey, Kenny Benbow, Steven Bender, Jimmy Brantner, Marquise Branton, Matt Brevi, David Brooks, Jarrett Buie, Josh Chadwick, Andrew Chambers, Juan Cherry, Devon Clark, Morel Cobb, Josh Collier, Anthony Costa, Jake Crealman, Aaron Davis, Dominique Davis, Evan Davis, Chris Demarco, Darren deRochemont, Jason Donaldson, Josh Fairbanks, Mike Fite, Warren Forsythe, Micah Gregus, Jake Griffin, John Grosso, Thomas Hair, Sam Hardiman, Justin Hickman, Steven Hicks, Floyd Howell, Tivon Jackson, James Jolly, Charles Laing, Glenn Lassiter, Jay Lassiter, Chris Levy, Reid Macko, Bert McBride, Canan McCaslin, Demetrius Mcray, Kyle Pauchus, Chad Peterson, Thaddeus Phillips, Steven Powell, Walter Radney, Steven Richardson, Donald Rivers, Kareem Royal, Roger Snells, Ryan Sollazzo, Terrin Steven, Curtis Thompson, Dougie Thompson, Mike Thompson, Mike Williams, Jameel Williams, Jazzman Williams and Christian Wright.

The assistant coaches for Armwood are Mike Bilinski, C.C. Culpepper, Ron Ellis, Todd Ficker, Ernest Hayes, Bobby Holder, T.J. LaFlamboy, Corey Peterson, Chris Taylor and Matt Thompson.

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