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Conflicts force out Hudson football coach

The divorce between football coach and administration is final at Hudson.

Principal Greg Wright said he has fired Terry Voyles as head football coach after going 15-34 in five seasons with the Cobras, ending a strained relationship among the coach, principal and parents.

"This is like a divorce, the kids are caught in between," Voyles said. "I don't think either of us were happy with each other the last couple of years.

"This is probably for the best."

Voyles, 55, was coming off a 4-6 season in 2003 coaching a program that hasn't had a winning season in 24 years. Those four wins were the program's most since 1999, when Voyles went 5-5 his first season.

Those four wins included one of the biggest in school history, and the biggest of Voyles' career, a 56-34 win over east power Zephyrhills. The Cobras hadn't beaten them in 11 years. Hudson also beat Lecanto 50-8.

But it wasn't enough to convince Wright to bring Voyles back this spring. Voyles said Wright asked him to resign two weeks ago and the coach refused.

Voyles said he was officially fired Jan. 19, but Wright didn't announce it until Monday.

"I really respect Coach Voyles a lot as an individual," Wright said. "He has a great heart and he is an excellent teacher. But as I explained to Terry, a football program needs different skills, and right now my expectations for what is needed for the team are not where Terry is at.

"I wish him well wherever he goes next. But we need to move on and the program needs to move on. We are in the market for a new head coach."

Wright said he will seek a coach who can master many roles: administrator, leader, strategist, motivator and organizer.

"I'm just looking at the total package and what it takes to be an effective organizer with the plans and skills to lead an organization," Wright said. "We'll be looking for someone that can provide what the team needs to move us forward."

Voyles said he refused to quit when Wright first approached him and wished the decision had been made sooner so he could have applied for other head jobs.

"Well, I'm not happy, but what can I say?" Voyles said. "I think it's a little late. He gave me the opportunity to resign and I'm just not that type of person. I thought I did a good job and I'm not the type of person to resign if I think I've done a good job.

"We've been struggling for a couple of years, but I really thought we had a good year this year. I've got parents that are unhappy, and I don't understand it. I've always gotten along with everybody else. I've had a hard trip here at Hudson. Going back to Land O'Lakes or Pasco, it's like going back to a family reunion.

"But at Hudson, I'd be scared to cross U.S. 19 without a bodyguard."

That animosity didn't exist when Voyles was hired March 5, 1999. The former Hernando assistant actually missed his interview at Hudson but impressed the search committee because he missed it driving players to visit colleges in Georgia.

The program was 9-31 through four years under former coach Ernie Pollock. It was Voyles' first head job after years spent working toward his college degree and as an assistant at Land O'Lakes and Pasco, where he was on the staff of coach Perry Brown's 1992 state championship team.

But it turned ugly in 2002, when Voyles' job was in jeopardy after an 0-4 start. Standouts Kenny and Shannon Eva left the program, and father Pene clashed with the coach. Shannon Eva transferred to Ridgewood over the offseason, and Voyles applied for the Pasco vacancy.

But after talking to Wright that offseason, Voyles withdrew his name and remained at Hudson.

Voyles said parents have challenged him on several fronts over the years, on everything from playing time to offensive scheme.

"A coach has to run what he knows best," said Voyles, who coaches the Wing-T. "We've been questioned why the middle school can win and we can't, and I'm just tired of it. I know what kind of coaches we had, our coaching staff was good.

"I felt like we made a good showing for ourselves and I'm sure they can win six or seven games next year with what they have returning."

Voyles said he will coach again and already has several offers to become an assistant at programs he would not disclose. He and his wife Barbara, also a teacher at Hudson, are building a house in Brooksville. He may take this coming season off, but Voyles said he intends to be a head coach again.

And he has no regrets.

"Being there was one of the best things that's ever happened to me," Voyles said, "I met my wife at Hudson."