Ricky Giles will return to the dugouts of Pasco County.
A year after his controversial exit from Pasco, Giles has been hired as the head baseball coach at Zephyrhills, Bulldogs athletic director Bruce Cimorelli said Thursday morning.
“It’s coming back home…” said Giles, a ZHS alum. “My roots are out here. It feels good to be back in this environment.”
Especially after what happened last spring, when one of the most successful coaching careers in North Suncoast history crashed to an end.
Pasco County Schools indefinitely suspended him last March as it investigated complaints into Giles’ conduct. According to documents released by the district last spring, one player cursed at Giles and threw his hat and shirt on the mound during a game. Giles then threatened to punch the player if the incident happened again, although the district said no child was in danger.
Giles eventually resigned, citing personal reasons.
“Sometimes you gotta go through some things to really see it,” Giles said.
Fifteen months later, Zephyrhills is ready to give Giles another chance.
Giles had never been reprimanded by the district before last spring, and all of his employee evaluations were satisfactory. Cimorelli said his new coach even received an endorsement from superintendent Kurt Browning.
“He was the best man for the position…” Cimorelli said. “If the superintendent supports you, we support him 100 percent.”
Giles has turned his focus from last year’s drama to building the Bulldogs into a power like Pasco.
He led the Pirates to the playoffs 13 times in 17 seasons and reached the Class 4A state title game in 1997. He inherits a program that won six games this spring and hasn’t made the playoffs since its trip to the state semifinals in 2000.
Giles said he intends to get Zephyrhills to return to the success it had under Cimorelli by focusing on discipline and taking a more business-like approach.
“I’m still gonna coach the way I coach,” Giles said. “It’s gonna be disciplined. I expect the kids to do what I say. If I did it any other way, then I need to find something else to do.”
Giles also formerly served as a Pirates assistant football coach. He helped his son, Zephyrhills football coach Reggie Roberts, coach the Bulldogs this spring. Giles will remain at Pasco in student discipline.