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St. Petersburg Catholic hired Canterbury coach Steve Dudley to take over the football program, Barons principal John McMahon said Monday.
Dudley replaces Tod Creneti, who left in March to become the coach and assistant athletic director at Bradenton St. Stephen's. Dudley, 47, works in medical sales and will be an off-campus coach.
"Coach Dudley is a devout Catholic who has a great enthusiasm for the mission that drives our school," said McMahon. "He enjoys strong ties to the community and to St. Petersburg Catholic. Coach Dudley has a tremendous vision for the football program and is very enthusiastic about joining the Baron family. I have great confidence in the future of our football program under his leadership."finished with a 28-13 record
Dudley went to St. Petersburg Catholic as a freshman and sophomore then transferred to St. Petersburg High School. He was an all-state linebacker for the Green Devils in 1981, when he had a school-record 112 solo tackles and 53 assists in addition to six interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He went on to play at Harding University in Arkansas, where he earned a degree in communication. Dudley also has a master's in education from Arkansas Tech.
"I hate to leave Canterbury, but I'm ecstatic about the challenge at St. Petersburg Catholic," Dudley said. "I've gone to the school and I've had a lot of family members go there as well. So I'm familiar with the school."
He began his coaching career in 1986 as a graduate assistant coach at Harding University. He went on to assist at Clearwater Central Catholic (1988), Arkansas Tech (1989-91), and St. Petersburg Catholic (Spring 1995).
After coaching in the youth leagues, Dudley was hired as Canterbury's coach in 2007. He went 28-13 in four seasons and was named the Sunshine State Athletic Conference coach of the year in 2009 when he led the Crusaders to an undefeated season as an independent. He also was a finalist for the Northeast job earlier this month.