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Bogie coach heads to Bradenton Bayshore

Jean Gordon has been to enough family funerals the past five years to know life can be too short. So when the opportunity came to coach closer to his 81-year-old father, he couldn't resist.

On Monday, Gordon officially resigned as Boca Ciega coach to take the head job at Bradenton Bayshore.

With the death of his mother and step-father the past year, Gordon said he has spent many hours reflecting on the importance of being close to family.

"The bottom line is, the last five years I've had a lot of family situations," Gordon said. "I've been looking around, been on some interviews, turned some jobs down because nothing fit.

"Then the Bayshore thing popped open. My dad lives right there in Bradenton. I thought, "You know what? If I could get one job, this would be it.' "

Gordon was chosen from more than 100 applicants. He will take over for Raymond Woodie, who coached from 1997-2005 before leaving for Palmetto.

It was Woodie and the Bruins who knocked Bogie out of playoff contention with an overtime win last season.

Gordon is unsure when he'll start, what he'll teach or what his new salary will be. "Right now, they've offered and I accepted and all the other details will be worked out," he said.

In 11 seasons at Bogie, Gordon was 51-72, including 7-3 last year. No football coach has ever left the school with a winning record.

In the past four seasons, Gordon turned the program around, going 23-21 with one district title and the only two playoff wins in school history. He became the school's all-time wins leader last season, breaking a tie with former coach Jon Bolen at 44.

Gordon informed his team of his decision to leave Monday in a meeting he described as "brutal".

While leaving is hard, Gordon said it is made easier by the fact he is leaving the new coach a team he thinks will contend for a district title next year.

"That was real important to me," he said. "The cupboards aren't bare. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with next season. Anyone that steps in there is going to have an opportunity to compete for a district championship."

Provided, of course, they can do something Gordon couldn't this year - beat his new team.