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North Suncoast: News and notes

Norman Jackson has been hired as Pasco's boys basketball coach.

He replaces Derek Heard, who resigned for a similar job at Orlando Oak Ridge after leading the Pirates to a 3-21 record. Jackson taught at Oak Ridge and was a JV football coach. He also was an associate head coach at West Oaks Academy.

Jackson, 38, touts plenty of basketball experience, having coached AAU teams Hoop Dreams and Team Stat, which is backed by NBA forward Amare Stoudemire.

Jackson was one of seven applicants — including former Pasco coach Poncho Broner, who resigned in June 2008 to pursue a master's degree.

Jackson vows to bring discipline and teamwork to the program, qualities he picked up as a specialist in the Army.

"They traditionally have had very competitive teams," Jackson said of Pasco. "They've made the playoffs quite often.

"I'm in a rebuilding process. I know last year they didn't have a great record. … I'm a hard worker. I'm dedicated and passionate. I care about the players on the court as well as off the court. My goal is to mold them into productive citizens."

Jackson, a New York native who moved to Florida for an affordable college education and to be closer to his mother, earned a bachelor's degree from USF in political science and a master's degree from UCF in public administration.

Jackson will teach at Pasco and already met six players through Tuesday's class registration.

Zephyrhills football sticks with interims

A week after Zephyrhills fired its football coach a replacement plan is in place.

Troy Hochstetler and Greg Mathis will continue as co-interim head coaches for the 2009 season, principal Steve Van Gorden said Tuesday. The assistants have been in that capacity since Jerrell Cogmon was fired last week. If Van Gorden opts for a full coaching search, it will not take place until the season is complete.

In the aftermath of Cogmon's dismissal, the coaches held a meeting and decided the current scenario — Mathis coaching the offense, Hochstetler the defense — has helped settle a program still rattling after Cogmon's firing on the second day of practice.

"We've decided to handle things in-house," Van Gorden said in a conference call. "Come the end of the season we'll see what happens at that point. …I've been impressed by these guys. The coaching staff has jelled from a tough situation."

Mathis said bringing in a new coach at this point would be difficult.

"Right now the kids are happy with the way things are going," Mathis said. "They're moving positively. We don't want to throw something else in the mix."

North Suncoast: News and notes 08/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:49pm]
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