Tampa Catholic hired Ridgewood’s Matthew Rocha as girls basketball coach Wednesday, the school announced in a news release.
Rocha, a Jacksonville native, spent two years at Ridgewood and leaves the program with a 34-20 record. Tampa Catholic principal Thomas J. Reidy cited Rocha's basketball knowledge, passion and attendance of a Catholic high school as reasons he was hired. Rocha will also be on staff as an English teacher.
"Obviously they have a history of winning over there, and I'm a product of a Catholic high school (Bishop Kenny in Jacksonville) and coached there at a really high level," Rocha said. "It's everything I'm used to and was used to growing up."
Rocha inherits one of the area's most successful programs. The Crusaders won back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011 under coach Nancy Kroll, who was not retained after last season and told the Times on March 16 that, "It is a full-time job with part-time pay." (Kroll did not teach at the school).
In her six seasons at Tampa Catholic, Kroll won at least 20 games every season, made three final four trips (2009, 2010, 2011) and finished with a .816 winning percentage (146-33).