Promising to return Gibbs to its past glory, Rick Kravitz was officially announced as head football coach at a news conference Monday in the school’s auditorium. Kravitz, 58, spoke to a crowd that included about 20 current football players as well as media members and school administrators.
“I understand what Gibbs football was,’’ Kravitz said. “And I know what it’s going to be again. Having grown up and been around this community, I understand that at one time this was the program. We are going to get back to that in a short period of time, I hope.’’
Kravitz attended Dixie Hollins and was an assistant coach at Lakewood and Countryside before starting a nearly 30-year career as a defensive coach on the college level. This will be Kravitz’s first stint as a head coach at any level, excluding the time he spent as an interim head coach at Florida A&M in the early 1990s.
His last job was as a defensive coordinator at Youngstown State. Kravitz will begin teaching at Gibbs shortly after spring break. He also plans to interview potential assistant coaches soon.
“It was a very, very, very difficult task,’’ Gibbs principal Stephanie Adkinson said of picking a head coach. “We had over 100 applicants. We had very experienced individuals. Rick Kravitz came to us with experience on the college and high school level. One of the impressive things is that his background started right here in Pinellas County. We want nothing but the best for our students.’’
The Gladiators were 3-7 under Antonio Knox in the 2012 season. Kravitz said the focus this spring will be to implement a new offense and defense.
“We’re going to play a wide-open offense,’’ Kravitz said. “We’re going to play some read zone and throw that ball around. On defense, if anyone knows my background, I like to go get people. I like to blitz. We’re going to be aggressive. It’s going to be fun.’’
After the news conference, Kravitz worked the room, tyring to get to know some of the players who came to see him for the first time. He asked them their names and positions and tried to get them excited about playing for Gibbs.
“This was an opportunity for me to come home,’’ Kravitz said. “We’re going to create a family atmosphere here."