Phil Hayford, whose 33-year reign as football coach at Shorecrest ended this past season, has found another job just a few miles away from his old one.
On Tuesday, Hayford agreed to become the defensive coordinator at Canterbury, joining coach Bill Jones. Hayford plans to step down at Shorecrest at the end of the school year but will coach with the Crusaders once spring practice starts in May. Hayford will not be a teacher at Canterbury, though he might try to be a permanent substitute next school year.
“Being so close to home was a big factor in my decision,” Hayford said. “My family is here and I wanted to be near them. And then I started talking to Bill Jones and our philosophies and things we feel are important in running a program were very similar.”
In October, Hayford found out his contract was not being renewed as football coach at Shorecrest, marking an end to the longest run a Pinellas County football coach has ever had at one school.
Hayford coached the Chargers the remainder of the season. His overall record is 191-132, second-best among Pinellas County coaches in all-time wins and just five shy of tying former Northeast coach Jerry Austin as the county's all-time winningest coach. Hayford also led Shorecrest to playoff appearances in 15 of 34 seasons, including a stretch in which he made the postseason in 12 of 14 seasons from 1992-2005.
Canterbury athletic director Dave Smith started pursuing Hayford to join his coaching staff not long after it became official that Hayford was not returning to Shorecrest.
“As a school we’re excited about the opportunity to bring in someone like Coach Hayford,” Smith said. “The knowledge of the game that he brings is invaluable to us. As a former who used to go against him, I’m ecstatic about the move.”
Hayford had said he wanted to be a head coach and was actively pursuing openings this offseason. Last week, he turned down the head coaching job at Hudson and pulled himself out of the running at Naples Barron Collier.
This week, Hayford said he got a call from administrators about the opening at Northside Christian but he said he was not interested.
“Some people thought me wanting to still be a head coach was an ego thing,” Hayford said. “But I’m content. When it came down to it, I wanted to do what’s right for me and my family.”