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Colbert hired as Chamberlain football coach

TAMPA — Chamberlain announced Friday that John Colbert has been hired to replace longtime football coach Billy Turner, who retired last month after 30 years.

Colbert coached Tampa Bay Tech from 1998-2001 and his team won a district title in 2000. He resigned due to an injury suffered on the sideline and rheumatoid arthritis, Chamberlain principal Jeff Boldt said. Colbert also coached at Apopka and at West Orange, where he was an assistant athletic director.

Billy Turner said Friday that he had recommended his son and assistant coach, Brian Turner, for the position. Asked his thoughts on the hire, Billy Turner declined comment.

"When you look at everything you have to pick the right fit and I'm confident I did that," Boldt said. "Believe me, it's a difficult decision. But my commitment is to our kids and our school. …

"I know what Brian Turner has done for this football team. I know what Billy Turner has done for this football team. He's right there. That's what makes this decision all the tougher. I have nothing bad to say about Brian Turner. He was right there in the trenches and has tremendous loyalty to those kids."

Colbert takes over a Chamberlain program that went 11-2 in 2008, won a district title and reached the Class 5A region final.

Boldt said 17 people applied for the job, and six finalists were selected, including Brian Turner. Boldt said Colbert interviewed for more than an hour and was "extremely impressive."

"I felt a connection there," Boldt said. "He's going to be great for our program and our kids."

Colbert, who is on spring break, was not immediately available for comment, but will begin teaching physical education in the fall and will meet with players and parents after spring break.

Graham accepts Steinbrenner job

Floyd Graham confirmed he will be the football coach at Steinbrenner High. Graham, 38, was head coach at Jensen Beach for one season and led the Falcons to a 4-6 mark. He had been promoted after his first season as offensive line coach.

Graham was drawn to the Steinbrenner job because of his ties to the bay area. He has two daughters who live in Brandon and he had spent time coaching at Durant and Newsome.

"To go back and be with them was a main priority," Graham said.

Graham said he specifically liked the idea of coaching at Steinbrenner, a name he considers to be synonymous with sports. He also liked the idea of being at a school with a sports management program.

"They'll be the only school in the county with sports management and sports medicine," Graham said. "What better name for it than the owner of the Yankees?"

Graham said he hopes to speak with athletic director Eddie Henderson about doing something related to spring practice. Henderson said Tuesday that there would be no spring football this year because the fields are not ready for use.

"At Newsome, we had 10 days of spring practice with just shorts," Graham said. "We didn't even have helmets. We practiced next door. I haven't had a chance to talk to Mr. Henderson about that. I would love to get 10 days in. I don't think it's going to be possible."

His wife, Jennifer, will be the swimming coach at Steinbrenner.

Sickles' Gay transfers to Alonso

Jameel Gay has transferred to Alonso, Sickles coach Pat O'Brien confirmed. Gay was a two-way starter, the No. 1 return specialist and top receiver for the 3-7 Gryphons, O'Brien said in an e-mail. Gay is a Division I recruit and will join a veteran receiving corps on an Alonso team that went 7-4. He will add another target for Ravens quarterback C.J. Bennett, who threw for 3,017 yards and 29 touchdowns last season.

Gay was Sickles' top receiver in 2008 with 36 receptions for 366 yards and a touchdown, and 13 kickoff returns for 258 yards.

"We will survive," O'Brien said. "Like I have always said, if you are D-I, the D-I coaches will find you. That is what they do for a living. We signed a D-I kid off of an 0-10 team and one off of a 2-8 team. …Talent shows up on film."

Colbert hired as Chamberlain football coach 04/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 9:18pm]
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