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Admiral Farragut football coach Buster Davis steps down

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Thu. May 30, 2013 | Rodney Page | Email

Admiral Farragut football coach Buster Davis steps down

Just four months after hiring former Florida State linebacker Buster Davis, Admiral Farragut is already looking for a new football coach.

On Thursday, Blue Jacket officials said Davis, who hasn’t been on campus this week, had resigned.

“I don’t think that it was a good fit for him,” said headmaster Bob Fine, who broke the news to the team in a 10 a.m. meeting in the school library. “We were happy with the team and the level of instruction, but at the end of the day we didn’t feel there was that commitment. And Buster decided to resign.”

Davis taught at Admiral Farragut in the physical training department, but did not move his family to St. Petersburg from Jacksonville. In a news release from the school, Davis said “relocating proved to be too much of a hardship for my family.” He did not return a phone call from the Tampa Bay Times seeking comment.

It had been a turbulent spring for Davis, hired on Feb. 8. He had fewer than 30 players out for practice most of the month. Davis said the program had lost around 10 players to injuries, then Farragut was overmatched by Berkeley Prep in a 35-6 spring game loss May 16. The Blue Jackets suited up just 19 players in the game.

Times reporters had contacted athletic director Matt Thompson and Davis after the spring game about possible unrest in the program, and both were adamant that Davis wasn’t leaving.

“Not true,” Davis said in a text message May 23 about whether he had been asked to resign.

Davis, whose only previous head coaching experience included seven games at Duval Charter in Jacksonville last season, had said after the spring game loss that he was “changing the culture” at Farragut.

Davis replaced Chris Miller, who stepped down under pressure after leading the program for eight years. Miller had led Farragut to three straight playoff berths, including the 2011 Class 2A state final.

On Thursday, speaking for the first time in-depth about his resignation, Miller said he was pressured to resign by Fine. Miller, who recently was named the new football coach at Seminole, said he had heard rumblings about his potential ouster as far back as November, and the decision to remove him as coach was based in part on the input from Larry Smith, a parent and school booster. Smith was also involved in the hiring process of Davis.

On Jan. 8, Fine told the Times that Miller resigned on his own terms, and the decision was not based on influence from boosters at the school.

“I wish we had the problems of a college program,” Fine said at the time. “We’re not even close to that level.”

Senior running back/linebacker Cortavious Givens has played for both Miller and Davis. He said Davis took some time getting used to.

“We butted heads at first,’’ Givens said Thursday. “But by the end I was all on board.’’

Fine said the school will take resumes until June 21 and hopes to name a coach in early July. He said more than 100 applied last time the position was open.

Staff writer Bob Putnam contributed to this report.

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