TAMPA — Former Gaither boys soccer coach Eric Sims will take the same job at Jesuit, the school announced Tuesday afternoon. Sims replaces Bob Bauman, who stepped down Aug. 29 after 26 seasons with the program.
An alumnus of Jesuit and player under Bauman from 1992-95, Sims resigned from his position at Gaither over the summer after leading the Cowboys to three final fours and 10 playoff appearances in 12 seasons.
Sims, 36, an assistant coach for goalkeepers at the University of Tampa and executive director of the Tampa Bay United Soccer Club, has big shoes to fill at Jesuit.
Regarded as one of the most successful soccer coaches in Hillsborough County history, Bauman led the Tigers to 24 district titles, five of their six state titles (1995, 1997-99, 2001) and one national title in 2001. Sims served as a Tigers assistant coach during the 2001 season before getting hired by Gaither.
Bauman, an attorney with the Morris Law Firm of Tampa, resigned to focus on his campaign for Hillsborough Circuit Court, Group 34.
Tuesday afternoon, Sims was introduced to the team. In the process, his personal goal was finally fulfilled.
"It’s something I’ve always thought about," Sims said of coaching his alma mater. "I always said if the job came open and I was given the opportunity, I would definitely take it for sure."
Sims will continue his full-time job at Tampa Bay United and coaching the Spartans, whose regular season ends Oct. 29. During the offseason, Sims said he plans to evaluate his time commitments and decide if he will return to the Univeristy of Tampa next season. The NCAA does allow coaches to simultaneously head high school and college programs.
Preseason conditioning at Jesuit is set to begin next week, with tryouts taking place Oct. 14. An enthusiastic Sims can't wait for it all to begin.
"I wish tryouts were tomorrow," he said. "Obviously replacing a legend is something that’s going to be difficult to do. But the foundation is in place, and the tradition is here, and we just have to make sure we keep the train on the track that it’s on.”