When Mike Simmonds resigned last month as Jefferson coach to become a graduate assistant at USF, the school hoped to find a successor who could help the program maintain its status as one of the state's elite.
With Wednesday's hiring of longtime offensive coordinator Mike Fenton, the Dragons are confident they have found just the person.
"This program has been moving in a big direction," athletic director Bob Morgan said. "Mike worked closely with Coach Simmonds and we think he will continue that movement and add his own little pizazz to it."
In Simmonds' eight years, Jefferson went 75-28 with state final appearances in 2002 and 2004.
Fenton, 50, was instrumental in the program's rise to prominence in six years as an assistant. His offenses consistently have ranked among the county's best, particularly the 2004 squad, which scored 40 or more points seven times.
"I hope that I'm the popular choice," Fenton said. "We really want to continue doing what we've been doing. I don't think we'll see a big change."
Jefferson, which interviewed two other candidates, received a half dozen or so resumes from interested parties and several phone inquiries, Morgan said. Fenton, who played at Tampa Catholic, has 27 years of coaching experience. He is a career specialist at the school.
"Mike has an excellent rapport with our student-athletes," Morgan said. "Not only with football, but with academics. We know what he can do on the field, but we also know what he can do for these kids."
No additional Guy Toph winner to be announced
TAMPA - In the wake of a controversy surrounding voting for the county's top football player, there will not be a second Guy Toph trophy presented this year, Hillsborough County director of athletics Vernon Korhn confirmed Wednesday.
Giving a second award was discussed after Tampa Tribune sportswriter Rozel A. Lee admitted to manipulating her vote so Robinson quarterback Marcello Trigg would win, which he did. Upon investigation of the voting, it was discovered Hillsborough High quarterback Jarred Fayson would have won if Lee hadn't intentionally given Fayson the lowest ranking in the tabulations of 19 coaches and media members.
Lee, who repeatedly said she gave Fayson her lowest ranking to increase the chances of Trigg winning, was fired for the incident.
"These kids are both tremendous kids and they have handled this better than most adults would have," Korhn said. "I can't say enough good things about these two young men."
- SCOTT PURKS, Times staff writer