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Ex-Tigers coach may switch to Bucs sideline

One of the most successful prep football careers in Hillsborough County could be on the verge of resurrection.

Dominick Ciao, who led Jesuit to 132 wins and one state runnerup finish in 17 seasons, is expected to be named coach at Berkeley Prep as early as today. Ciao acknowledged Monday he applied for the job vacated when Frank Sullivan resigned in February but politely declined to comment further.

Berkeley Prep athletic director Bobby Reinhart wouldn't confirm Ciao's hiring but said a new coach would be announced today.

Ciao, 53, spent a quarter-century on Jesuit's sideline, serving as head coach from 1986-2002. He led the Tigers to playoff berths in 10 of his final 11 seasons, guiding the 1992 team to the Class 3A state championship game, where it lost 28-16 to Pasco. None of his final 14 teams finished worse than 6-4.

More than 100 of Ciao's players signed college scholarships, including brothers Greg (Air Force), George (Georgia Tech) and Gary Godsey (Notre Dame). Ciao's 2001 squad was the first Jesuit team to post an undefeated regular season in 26 years.

He resigned as coach in July 2003 to "spend more time with my family" and has spent recent years assisting Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin on an informal, part-time basis.

Sullivan stepped down after eight seasons at Berkeley to become coach and assistant athletic director at Randolph-Macon Academy, a military prep school in Front Royal, Va.

In eight seasons with the Buccaneers, he compiled a 42-35 record, leading the program to a pair of playoff berths and watching three players sign with Division I programs. His final Bucs team finished 1-8.

"I just thought it was time for a change, time to leave," Sullivan said.

Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report. Joey Knight can be reached at (813) 226-3350 or jknight@sptimes.com.

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