DADE CITY — Derek Heard, who played at Florida Southern and has assisted at three prominent Florida high schools, has been hired as Pasco boys basketball coach, athletic director Jim Ward announced.
Heard, 27, will be the program's first coach not named Broner since 1983. He replaces Poncho Broner, who stepped down after eight seasons to pursue a master's degree.
Ward said Heard's "knowledge of basketball, his academics-first attitude" were the primary factors that led to his hiring over six others. Heard will teach physical education and earn an annual coaching supplement of $3,031.
"He was one of those that interviewed real well," Ward said. "And he's pretty knowledgeable about the game. He had some real good references. The whole package with what we were looking for was there."
A Panama City native who grew up next door to former Wesley Chapel girls coach Warren Jones, Heard played at Rutherford High before moving to Florida Southern. According to the 2007-08 FSC media guide, Heard is ranked 22nd in program history in points (1,064) and 19th in rebounds (612).
His previous coaching experience includes one year as associate head coach at North Lauderdale Academy, three years at Miami Monsignor Pace and the past two seasons at Orlando Oak Ridge. Among the players he has coached: incoming University of Florida freshmen Ray Shipman and Kenny Kadji.
"I heard a lot of good things from coaches in the area," Heard said. "Coach (Mike) Madagan at Saint Leo told me some good things about the program, and that the community would really get behind the school. That's what I was really looking for."
Hernando rehires baseball coach
As expected, former longtime Hernando baseball coach Tim Sims has been rehired to his old position, new athletic director John Palmer confirmed.
Sims, a 1982 HHS graduate who resigned after 13 seasons in 1996, was selected over Tallahassee Lincoln assistant Ryan Solberger and Blountstown High coach Jeff Gillespie. He'll earn an annual supplement of $2,468.
"It was very close to (a no-brainer)," Palmer said. "With Tim's background at the high school and of course, his experience and success he's had from a coaching standpoint, it was an excellent choice. And getting a person of his quality was icing on the cake."
Sims, 43, replaces his former assistant, Donnie Whitehead, who left after two seasons to become an assistant at St. Johns River Community College. In his first tenure, Sims led Hernando to four playoff berths, guiding the 2004 club to within a game of the four-team state tournament.
"I appreciate Coach (Ken) Pritz (new Hernando principal)," Sims said. "He taught me, and I appreciate him having the confidence in me to come on board in his administration."
Sims resigned two years ago because daily commutes to his job in the family furniture business in Leesburg had become too much of a grind. The itch to coach, however, became too great to suppress.
These days, Sims commutes daily to Ocala, but said he would return to Brooksville each day in time to commence practice at roughly 5 p.m.