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Pasco turns to Jason Stokes as football coach

The former Bloomingdale and Gaither coach returns to the area to take over the Pirates, who "fit my style."

Jason Stokes, who has coached at four area schools in the past decade, was hired to take over at Pasco High. Stokes replaces Tom McHugh, who was 86-50 in 12 seasons with the program.

"Pasco is one of those schools that has tough kids who just get after it," Stokes said Wednesday. "I watched them in 7-on-7 tournaments, and I got to see them in a playoff game against Jesuit a few years and came away impressed with how aggressive their players were.

"They just kind of fit my style."

This will be Stokes' fourth school in as many years. His previous coaching stops were at Bloomingdale (2008), Middleton (2009-10), Gaither (2011-16), Indian Rocks Christian (2017) and Lake Region (2018).

Stokes guided three of those programs to playoff appearances.

In 2016, Gaither had to forfeit three games because of two ineligible players. Stokes was suspended from teaching and coaching while the school district's Office of Professional Standards reviewed the case. He resigned because he was not getting support from the administration.

Stokes' new task is shake Pasco out of its doldrums. The Pirates have not made the playoffs since 2013 and have gone through four straight losing seasons.

Stokes will start later this month and will teach at the school.

"This is a community that cares about its football program," Stokes said. "There's a lot of support, and that's what you want. I can't wait to get started."

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