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Back issues force Gulf football coach to step down

Jason Messamore stepped down as Gulf's head football coach on Wednesday due to lingering back problems. Messamore's resignation comes just two days before the Buccaneers' preseason game against Osceola.

"I've had these back issues for about a year now," Messamore said. "By mid-July it got so bad that I could hardly get out of bed. I've only made about four practices. It's hard to keep trying to gut through this. I decided that I needed to take a break and take care of myself. I'm 40 and I want to be able to walk when I'm 60."

Bruno Buonsanto, also the girls basketball coach, will be the coach in the interim until the end of the season. Messamore has been at Gulf since 2013. Prior to that he was an assistant coach at Clearwater Central Catholic and East Lake. Last season, the Buccaneers were 8-3 and made the playoffs. This season, Gulf has struggled with numbers but does have enough to play the season.

Messamore said he will remain as a teacher at the school. He is undecided about whether to undergo back surgery or rely on rehabilitation.

"I don't think I'm done coaching," he said. "I'm going to miss it. But I've got to get this straightened out before I do anything."

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