Brian Thornton, new coach of the East Bay Indians, is excited about his plans to turn around the program the same way he did the boys track program.
East Bay has been in the cellar of Hillsborough County football for the past two years and had to play many players on both offense and defense because of the low number of team members.
When he took over the boys track program six years ago, he had only 15 athletes come out, he said. The turnaround didn't take long.The Indians have won the Western Conference meet the past three years, and several other big meets.
In January, Thornton received permission to take over and renovate a concrete building next to the football field to have a place for his team at halftime and film presentations during practice. They have had a five-minute, one-way walk to the gym.
He called a meeting recently for all interested players and 160 underclassmen attended. He is also working on ways to get the community involved and has put together a coaching staff that includes a retired Indiana high school hall-of-fame coach who built three state championship programs in 28 years as a head coach.
"The retired Indiana coach is my dad," said Thornton. "He came here to help. This community is old-fashioned and really supports a winning football team, or even a losing one. We will need their help to overcome some of the obstacles.