Former Florida State star Derrick Alexander’s plans have changed recently at Bishop McLaughlin. After football coach Matt Nardo stepped down Monday morning, the former defensive standout for the Seminoles and current defensive line coach for Bishop was promoted to head coach.
“It’s been a tremendous change of events these past couple of weeks,” Alexander said. “I was planning to coach with Nardo, who I thought was a very good coach, but now I find myself as the head man,” Alexander said.
Nardo, who compiled a 7-3 record last fall in his first season as Hurricanes head coach, will be taking a coaching position at Marietta (Ohio) College. The Pioneers finished 2-8 in the Ohio Athletic Conference last year.
“The toughest thing was telling the kids that I was leaving,” Nardo said. “I’ve coached these kids the past three seasons and telling them that I’ll be leaving was just the toughest thing to do.
“Derrick will be taking over, and he’ll do a great job. He has plenty of experience and has all the tools to be a great coach.”
Alexander brings an impressive resume as a player. The former defensive end played in 10 games for the Seminoles during his redshirt freshman season in 1992 before bursting onto the scene as a sophomore in 1993. He recorded 100 tackles and eight tackles for a loss, both second most on the team. Alexander had 11 tackles against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl that season to help boost Florida State to the national championship.
As a junior at FSU, Alexander was named ACC Player of the Year.
“I’m going to take everything I’ve learned (at FSU) from Bobby Bowden, Mickey Andrews and Chuck Amato and instill that knowledge into this program,” said Alexander, who was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2007. “I plan to not just make Bishop McLaughlin into one of the better programs in Pasco County, but in the tri-county area.
“There are some really good players here at Bishop McLaughlin and we’re going to … install some more pro-style (offense) as well.”
The 6-foot-4 end entered the NFL draft after his junior season and was chosen 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings. Alexander played four seasons with the Vikings and spent one season with the Cleveland Browns before retiring. His most productive year came in his final season with the Vikings (1998), when he started all 16 games and recorded 71/2 sacks and 37 tackles.