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Boca Ciega's Stevie Thomas stepped down as football coach this week.
"It was a mutual decision between myself and the administrators," Thomas said. "The principal wanted to have a coach that was on campus full-time, and I couldn't do that. They wanted what was best for Boca Ciega, and I understand that."
Thomas, a former star at the school and with the Tampa Bay Storm, took over the Pirates in 2006 when he replaced Jean Gordon. Thomas was a school resource officer on campus his first two seasons before being moved to Bayside High.
"That was just hard being away from the school," Thomas said. "The school wanted someone who would be there all the time to monitor the kids, and I just couldn't do that."
From 1991-99 Thomas played with the Storm, leading them to four Arena Football League championships. His No. 20 is retired by the Storm and he is the team's all-time leader in receiving yards.
Though he had limited coaching experience, Thomas beat out seven other applicants for the Boca Ciega job in '06. In five seasons, he went 25-26 and made one playoff appearance in '07. This year, the Pirates were 4-6 and lost three games each by a point.
"There are no hard feelings with me leaving," Thomas said. "I wouldn't mind coming back and helping out the new coach in any way if he would want that."