For four seasons, Jon Cabino bided his time coaching Clearwater's junior varsity boys basketball program while waiting to be a head coach.
The wait is over.
Cabino, who turns 35 on Monday, was hired Friday to take over the varsity program at Pinellas Park. He replaces Allen Carden, who left the Patriots after four seasons to coach the Tornadoes.
"I guess you could say it was an early birthday present," Cabino said.
Cabino was a varsity assistant at Clearwater for six seasons under Jack Coit. In 2004, Cabino took over the school's JV program and was undefeated his first three seasons, finishing 59-4.
Two months ago, the Tornadoes varsity position opened when Coit retired. Cabino applied then watched as the Clearwater administration cycled through candidates from Florida and beyond.
In the end, the Tornadoes tabbed Carden as the coach.
"I was a little disappointed, but I understood why the decision was made," Cabino said. "What hurt me was my lack of head coaching experience at the varsity level. Now, I can get that at Pinellas Park."
Cabino said he interviewed for the Pinellas Park job Wednesday. He said he applied for the opening at Gibbs and had an informal meeting with the school's administration three weeks ago.
"It came down to whoever offered me a job first," Cabino said. "I knew I couldn't go wrong either way."
Cabino plans to meet with Pinellas Park players Monday.
"Carden did an excellent job with the program and put together a solid foundation," Cabino said. "I just want to continue with what he's done there and try to make it better."