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Donnie Abraham named coach in waiting at Clearwater

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Wed. July 25, 2012 | Rodney Page | Email

Donnie Abraham named coach in waiting at Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and ex-Gibbs head coach Donnie Abraham was named Clearwater’s football coach in waiting for 2013, principal Keith Mastorides said Wednesday afternoon.

Abraham, 38, also a defensive backs coach with the Tampa Bay Storm and at East Lake, will be an assistant on outgoing coach Tom Bostic’s staff this fall.

“I’m very excited, and I think the kids are looking forward to bringing some excitement back,” said Abraham, who guided Gibbs to its first district title in 2009 but resigned after a 3-7 season in 2010 to work with the Storm.

A Bucs Pro-Bowler in 2004 who finished with 38 career interceptions, Abraham said he has met with the team and that he be may able to bring some assistants in for this season.

“I think we’ll be able to make this work,” said Abraham, in reference to the whole coach-in-waiting tag. Abraham added, however, that he doesn’t consider this a trial run and expects to be the coach in 2013.

Abraham’s son, Devin, is a cornerback at East Lake. It doesn’t appear that the rising junior, one of the area’s top prospects in the Class of 2014, will join his dad at Clearwater this season.

“That’s going to be up to him,’’ Abraham said. “I’m not going to talk to him about it. If he comes to me about it, then we’ll talk. But we haven’t talked about that.’’

Abraham, who has lived in Pinellas County for eight years, said he is well aware of the potential many coaches feel exists at Clearwater. The Tornadoes are coming off of a 2-8 season and last made the playoffs in 2003. But Abraham still thinks it’s one of the best jobs in the county.

The opening attracted 48 applicants. Mastorides spent Tuesday interviewing potential candidates. By the end of the day, he said he knew Abraham was the best choice.

“We’re very excited to have Donnie join us,’’ Mastorides said. “He has high school coaching experience and we think he is the right person to do what we’re trying to do here.’’

Abraham, who led Gibbs to the school’s first home playoff game, joins two other former Bucs in the county coaching ranks — Shorecrest’s Dave Moore and Northside Christian’s Mike Alstott.

Other notables who applied for the position include current Clearwater assistants Tom Joseph and Michael Lube, former Tarpon Springs coach and player Atif Austin, East Lake assistant coach Jason Messamore, St. Petersburg assistant Alex Powers, Gibbs assistants Chris Sands and James Barbaree, East Bay assistant Arturo Meza, Lakewood assistant Carey McCray and former Clearwater player Phil Nash. No current Pinellas public or private school head coaches officially applied.

Staff writer John C. Cotey contributed to this report.

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