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Hurricanes introduce new coach

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 is giving him that shot. Haines, 55, was introduced as the Hurricanes coach to returning players Friday in the school cafeteria. Dressed in a suit and tie, the enthusiastic Haines spoke briefly about his philosophies and background.

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

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

"I love it here," Haines said. "It's the right size. I want to make the community proud."

Haines beat out former Citrus star Rick Hamilton, 'Canes 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."

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

Haines, with 33 years in coaching and a 122-85 record, 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?' "