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Gulf athletic director Travis Dewalt announced today that longtime Land O'Lakes assistant coach Tom Carter has been tabbed as the new head football coach of the Buccaneers.
Carter, 45, spent 23 years as an assistant coach at Land O'Lakes. From 2005-08, Carter was an associate head coach under former Gators coach John Benedetto.
"It's great," Carter said. "I'll be working with a great administration and a great staff here as far as coaches. There is talent here. We're going to build a program, not just a team...I come from a program with a lot of tradition. We're going to build this into a winning tradition program as well."
Carter, who has applied for numerous head coaching positions in the last few years, was one of two finalists for the Gulf opening and beat out current Carrollwood Day School head football coach Mike 'Lane" McLaughlin for the job.
"We like his extensive background," Dewalt said. "He's been with an incredibly successful program, and we're confident he can continue that success here."
"I'm excited about next football season with coach (Carter) coming on board," Gulf sophomore wide receiver Chris Gregory added. "He was talking about his days at Land O'Lakes and all the success he had there. I believe that will transfer over and I can't wait for next year."
Carter, a resident of Spring Hill and 1984 graduate of Land O'Lakes, becomes the third football coach at Gulf in less than a year. Jay Fulmer compiled a 31-22 record in five seasons as head coach and led the Buccaneers to their only playoff appearances (2006, 2008). Fulmer abruptly resigned, though, in August amid a Pasco County investigation into the recruitment of two athletes, Ty'Shon Peters and Kris Aratchiysky, from Anclote. Ken Hollar, an assistant under Fulmer, was named interim head coach the same day as the Buccaneers regular season opener against Hudson on September 3. Carter was one of three finalists for Gulf's head coaching vacancy after Fulmer resigned in August, but, ultimately, Hollar was tabbed to replace Fulmer.
Hollar led Gulf to a 6-4 record but resigned after one season, citing a desire to begin work toward his bachelor's degree.
Peters and Aratchiysky were deemed ineligible by the FHSAA before the start of the season but were reinstated after both won an appeal to the FHSAA on October 6. The duo missed the first five games for Gulf but played the remainder of the season.
"I'm excited with the opportunity that the Gulf administration has given to me," Carter said. "I'm a disciplinarian, and I'll be bringing that to the team and also helping these kids academically getting them through school."
Times correspondent Andy Villamarzo contributed to this report