LUTZ — Name a school after the right guy, get a little World Series magic.
The Hillsborough County School Board may not have realized the potency of naming a new school after the owner of the New York Yankees. But it's becoming clear that George Steinbrenner High School will be far more than a mere namesake.
School officials say they plan to offer a sports-themed career track this fall for every student who wants it. Think sports medicine, marketing, turf management — just about anything connected to the behind-the-scenes world of professional sports.
And the Bronx Bombers are vowing to step up to the plate with internships, job shadowing or mentors at their Tampa spring training facility.
"There's a thousand different fields you can go into that are related to sports in one way or another," said senior vice president Felix Lopez.
Students began signing up by the busload after Lopez and former Yanks and Rays star Tino Martinez visited three Tampa middle schools last week to gauge interest in the program. School officials say they've already fielded several hundred applications.
Assistant principal Kelly King said Steinbrenner High won't just be for jocks, offering all the usual academic and career options. But it will be a particularly good fit for kids who could use a dose of sports with their studies, or perhaps a viable Plan B in case their dreams don't pan out.
"Not every youngster is going to play for the major leagues or the NFL," King said. "Here's a pathway to an actual career."
The school district is hoping to boost enrollment at the school, which is projected to open this August with fewer than half of its 2,500 seats filled. Students who are interested in applying via the district's choice program can call the school at (813) 792-5131.
Tom Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3400.