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North Suncoast: News and notes

Former Hillsborough High football/baseball standout Ben "Benji" Drawdy, who later starred for four years on USF's baseball team, has been hired to coach both sports at Academy at the Lakes.

Drawdy's hiring was one of several announced Friday by AATL athletic director Tom Haslam.

The other new coaches: Rick Jennings (girls volleyball), a former volleyball player at Brigham Young; Melissa Guerero (girls basketball), who played on the Saint Leo women's basketball team; and veteran travel softball coach Jack Shirling (softball).

Drawdy, a second baseman at USF and receiver on the 1996 Hillsborough team that reached the Class 6A title game, will teach physical education at the school. He previously has been a baseball assistant at three schools, including Jefferson and Alonso.

It's hoped his presence will help resuscitate a baseball program that has been forced to disband the past two years due to lack of players.

"We brought Ben in for that reason, to get that program going again," Haslam said. "Now we've got a full-time baseball guy on campus every day."

Drawdy also will oversee the six-man football team that competes in a statewide conference not affiliated with the Florida High School Athletic Association.

harvey another to bolt bucs' backfield: Many at Gulf hoped Brandon Harvey would help ease the load at running back with Adrian Golden transferring to Tarpon Springs this summer.

Instead, Harvey has also transferred — to first-year school Anclote. Harvey transferred from Largo to Gulf last spring. Harvey said he never practiced at Gulf this week, nor had he turned in any paperwork to coach Jay Fulmer.

Harvey looked to be the next great talent at running back for Gulf, following David Williams and Golden. Harvey rushed for 80 yards and caught two passes for 49 yards in the spring scrimmage. He is a cousin of University of Central Florida running back Brynn Harvey, who played at Largo and set the Pinellas County season rushing record in 2007.

With Golden and Harvey gone, the Buccaneers must rely heavily on Florida commitment Leon Orr, quarterback Madison Burr and fullback Will Burbridge.

usf football turns to soccer for kicks: USF football coach Jim Leavitt's search for viable kickers continued as three backup goalkeepers from the Bulls' defending Big East champion soccer program worked out at football practice.

USF soccer coach George Kiefer said that at Leavitt's request he sent over three reserve keepers — sophomore Brad Sienkiewicz of Tampa Prep and freshmen Alex Spock from Land O'Lakes and Renato Proia of Cape Coral Mariner.

Leavitt has senior Delbert Alvarado lined up for punts as well as field goals and extra points, but is looking for another strong leg to compete for kickoff duties.

Kiefer said Spock and Proia kicked on their high school teams, and joked that Sienkiewicz was the "dark horse" because he has no football experience.

Staff writer Greg Auman and correspondent Andy Villamarzo contributed to this report.

On the Web

Have a question for one of our prep writers? Want to sound off in response to one of our county-by-county writers' blogs? Nominate Top Performers for the month? For this and more, check out our high school sports blog at http://blogs.tampabay.com/preps/

North Suncoast: News and notes 08/14/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 14, 2009 10:20pm]
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