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New coach: "I love it here'

Rik Haines and his wife, Audrey, moved to Florida last year to be close to their sons. But the change of address also meant a change in title.

Haines went from head coach to assistant.

"I was happy being an assistant at first," Haines said. "But as the season wore on, I got the desire to be a head coach again."

Citrus High School is giving him that shot.

Haines, 55, was introduced as the Hurricanes football coach to returning players Friday afternoon in the school cafeteria. Sharply dressed in a suit and tie, the enthusiastic coach spoke briefly about his coaching philosophies and background, then answered questions.

"I want you to be good students and I want you to win," Haines told players.

Haines replaces Larry Bishop, who resigned in November after six seasons. He comes to Citrus from Clermont East Ridge, where he spent one season as co-defensive coordinator. East Ridge was 10-2 last fall.

"I love it here," Haines said. "It's the right size. It's a one-high school town. I want to make the community proud."

Haines beat out seven other finalists: former Citrus standout Rick Hamilton, Citrus track coach Tom Darby, Citrus football assistants Rick Keeran and Ed Kilpatrick, Nature Coast Tech head coach Tommy Keeler, Bradwell Institute (Ga.) assistant Patrick Foster and Central assistant Cliff Lohrey.

"It was tough," Citrus athletic director Vicki Overman said. "We had some awesome candidates. But one of the huge things with Rik was his wealth of experience. And he's very dynamic. We felt he'd be a great fit for our kids."

The deal won't be final until Haines is approved by the School Board. But Citrus principal Mike Mullen is confident Haines will start his new job by March 11.

Haines will teach health and physical education. He will earn an annual salary of $40,925, with a $3,530 coaching supplement.

"All the people we talked to said, "The kids will love him, the parents will love him, the administrators will love him,' " Mullen said. "And, they all say that he does a great job in class."

Haines, a native of Dover, Ohio, has 33 years of coaching experience _ 22 as a head coach and one as an assistant line coach with the University of Washington. He arrived in Florida after four seasons as head coach at Federal Way Decatur (Wash.).

"My sons work for Disney," Haines said. "We were always visiting them. So last year my wife said, "Why don't you get a dadgum job in Florida?' "

Haines has a 122-85 record.

His career also includes coaching stops in California, Kansas and Texas.

Haines' references include San Francisco 49ers coach Dennis Erickson and Tampa Bay Bucs safety John Lynch, who played high school ball for Haines in Del Mar, Calif.

"He looks like a nice guy," said junior running back R.J. Cobb. "It looks like he knows what he's doing."

Introducing: Rik Haines

AGE: 55

FAMILY: Wife Audrey; sons T.D. and J.K.

HOMETOWN: Dover, Ohio.

COACHING EXPERIENCE: 33 years, 22 as head coach.

RECORD: 122-85.

MOST RECENT JOB: Co-defensive coordinator at Clermont East Ridge (2003).

Citrus football since 1980

YEAR RECORD COACH

1980 0-10 Dick Lasse

1981 2-8 Dick Lasse

1982 3-7 Bob Williams

1983 3-7 Bob Williams

1984 7-4 Bob Williams

1985 8-3 Bob Williams

1986 9-1 Bob Williams

1987 10-1 Bob Williams

1988 9-1 Ron Cline

1989 7-3 Ron Cline

1990 3-7 Ron Cline

1991 6-4 Ron Cline

1992 6-4 Ron Cline

1993 6-5 Ken Berry

1994 5-5 Ken Berry

1995 6-5 Ken Berry

1996 0-10 Ken Berry

1997 5-6 Ken Berry

1998 3-8 Larry Bishop

1999 4-6 Larry Bishop

2000 4-6 Larry Bishop

2001 1-9 Larry Bishop

2002 5-5 Larry Bishop

2003 3-7 Larry Bishop

PLAYOFF HISTORY: 1973, 1974, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1997, 1998.

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