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River Ridge athletic director Jack Homko said that the school's search committee has identified nine candidates for the head coaching vacancy on the Royal Knights' football staff.
Among the notable names on the short list to replace Tim Stevens as River Ridge's head football coach are former Mitchell head coach Brian Wachtel and Gulf junior varsity head coach and Seven Springs Middle School athletic director Tim Boggess, who was recently a finalist for the varsity head coaching vacancy at Gulf.
Homko said that seven of the candidates have already been interviewed and the final two candidates will be interviewed on January 5. From that point, the school's search committee will narrow down the field to two or three finalists and a second round of interviews will be conducted.
"I'm pretty sure it'll be the end of January before we actually offer the position to somebody," Homko said.
The one commonality among the nine candidates? Nearly all have ties to the River Ridge program.
Stevens was fired after compiling a 9-41 record in five seasons at River Ridge.
Here is the list of the nine finalists for the River Ridge head football coaching vacancy:
Ryan Benjamin: River Ridge graduate who was a long snapper for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl-winning squad in 2002.
Gary Allen: A teacher and former assistant football coach at River Ridge.
Brian Wachtel: River Ridge graduate who was recently let go at Mitchell after going 13-7 in two seasons as the Mustangs head football coach.
Jordan Hoolihan: Former player at River Ridge was an assistant on the Royal Knights' staff this past season as a linebackers coach.
Tony Egan: The Royal Knights' defensive coordinator in 2010
Brian Hooker: Head junior varsity football coach and athletic trainer at River Ridge.
Michael Gregory: River Ridge alum and current offensive coordinator at Tampa Catholic.
Roy True: A varsity assistant in Hillsborough County.
Tim Boggess: Head junior varsity football coach at Gulf and Seven Springs Middle School athletic director.