Springstead’s search for a next football coach didn’t last long.
Three days after the resignation of Bill Vonada, the Eagles promoted defensive coordinator Mike Garofano to head coach, athletic director Bob Levija said Monday afternoon.
“It’s a slam dunk,” Levija said.
Garofano knows the void he must fill. He replaces Vonada, a Springstead alum and assistant who led the Eagles for 15 years and built a structure of stability in a county where every other program has had to find at least one new head coach since February 2010.
Like Vonada, Garofano is a Springstead graduate (Class of 1993) who played linebacker and receiver for the Eagles before returning as an assistant. His hire also provides an easy transition for the program and lets the school make a personnel move without worrying about teaching positions. Vonada recommended that administrators promote Garofano as his successor.
“Everything lines up,” Levija said.
Garofano has never served as a head football coach in high school but has plenty of other seasoning. He spent a year as the head coach at Powell Middle School before his 11 seasons as an Eagles assistant. In addition to being the school’s weightlifting coach, Garofano has been Springstead’s defensive coordinator since 2003.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” said Garofano, 37. “I’m excited for the challenge. I’ve kinda been in training behind a great coach like Coach Vonada.”
Garofano’s defense was a key reason why the Eagles won the Class 6A, District 6 title – its first since 1996 – while finishing 9-2 this fall.
Springstead allowed only 101 points all season and shut out three opponents. The Eagles gave up more than one touchdown in only three games – against playoff-qualifying Anclote, against county foe Nature Coast and against Vanguard.
Garofano said he’s confident the team he inherits from Vonada has a chance at a similar run in 2013.
“I’m grateful to him for a lot…” Garofano said. “I think with the nucleus I have coming back, we have a good chance to defend our district title.”