Clearwater boys basketball coach Allen Carden announced Friday that he is stepping down after five seasons.
Carden said he made the decision Thursday. He leaves with a 110-36 record, three district titles and a state championship appearance in 2009. He will continue to teach at the school.
“I had been contemplating the decision for the past month,” Carden said. “I’m not mad or bitter or disappointed. I was happy with my time here and worked with a great bunch of kids and a great administration. I just felt it was time for a new challenge.”
The position has been posted on the Florida High School Athletic Association website. Clearwater principal Keith Mastorides said the school will take applications until May 17, and he would like to have a coach named before the school year ends.
“We had a few meetings and coach Carden decided he wanted to go in this direction,” Mastorides said. “We wish him well.”
Carden came to Clearwater in the 2008-09 season after spending the previous four seasons at Pinellas Park, where he led the Patriots to the region final in 2008. In his first year with the Tornadoes, Carden guided the program to the state finals. The past two seasons, Clearwater lost close games in the district semifinals and failed to make the playoffs.
The past few seasons also have been marked by numerous transfers, notably Dayon Griffin (St. Petersburg), Joe Lampley (Boca Ciega) and Jordan Leston (East Lake).
“I’m pretty demanding, and my style isn’t for everybody,” Carden said. “The reason I’m leaving isn’t because of a few kids leaving. I want to work and develop kids, even at a younger level. That’s my passion and something I want to try.”
Carden has coached all three of his sons. His oldest, Cam, who played at Pinellas Park, just finished his college career at Lincoln Memorial and now is an assistant coach at Davis and Elkins College. Cory played on Clearwater’s team that made the state final and has aspirations to coach in college.
Cody is a junior at Clearwater.
Carden said the toughest decision was leaving before Cody graduates. Carden said the family will allow Cody to transfer to another school.
“Cody was fine with it,” Carden said. “He understood why I was doing it.”