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Wiregrass Ranch promotes football assistant Artie Meza

When Artie Meza left the interview for his first varsity head coaching job Thursday morning, he was told by Wiregrass Ranch athletic director Dave Wilson to expect a call either today or Monday about the decision.

"I said, 'You know where to find me tomorrow morning. You know where to find me Monday morning,' " said the Bulls' co-offensive coordinator. " 'I'll be out there at 6 o'clock.' "

Meza didn't have to wait nearly as long to hear the good news.

Late Thursday afternoon — a day on which Wilson interviewed 10 candidates — Meza was notified that he would be Wiregrass Ranch's new head coach, the fourth in school history.

Meza replaces Mike Lawrence, who resigned last week to take a job at a small college in Kansas. Wilson said Meza, who had been an assistant at Spoto, East Bay and Zephyrhills before coming to Wiregrass Ranch in 2013, came highly recommended by Lawrence.

And with just more than a month to go before the first regular-season game, Wilson said he liked the idea of keeping the job within the Bulls family.

"We're really happy with the direction the program is going in right now — what they've done for discipline, what they've done for getting us going in the right direction," Wilson said. "The coaches worked extremely hard, and Artie was a big factor."

Meza, 36, will inherit a Wiregrass Ranch team coming off a 4-6 season — a big improvement from winless campaigns the Bulls had the previous two years.

But despite the improvements Meza said are sure to continue, that's not even close to the biggest thing he's looking forward to in his new gig.

"(I'm looking forward to) trying to help them have productive lives, be good husbands and brothers and sons and just be productive citizens in life," Meza said. "I think the one thing that gets lost with parents and people sometimes is that we've been put in charge of their kids, and football is what you do, but it's not who you are."

Contact Kelly Parsons at kaparsons@tampabay.com. Follow @_kellyparsons.

Wiregrass Ranch promotes football assistant Artie Meza 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:34pm]
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