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Earl Garcia III named Hernando High football coach

Garcia III was previously an assistant at Hillsborough High under his father, Earl Garcia Jr.

Hillsborough High defensive coordinator Earl Garcia III was named the next football coach at Hernando on Thursday. Garcia fills the spot vacated three weeks ago when Rob Kazmier stepped down to spend time with his family.

“We had some really good candidates that applied for the job and Coach Garcia was one of the top ones,” Hernando co-athletic director Mark Lee said. “(He’s) very exciting, very energetic had a great passion for the game and we really liked the vision he had for our football program.”

Since 2012, according to Big County Preps, Garcia had been defensive coordinator at Hillsborough under his father, Earl Garcia Jr., the winningest coach in Hillsborough County history. The younger Garcia’s only previous head coaching experience came at King High in Tampa and was short-lived.

Garcia went 2-10 in 2007 with the Lions and served a five-week suspension for excessive conduct with a referee. He resigned in February 2008 for “personal reasons,” King athletic director Frank Oliver said at the time.

Garcia tallied 25 shutouts in 85 games as defensive coordinator at Hillsborough High, according to Lee. In the Terriers’ 8-3 season in 2019, Garcia’s defense logged five shutouts and lost in the first round of the postseason.

“We are going to do some things different on and off the field and (I) can’t wait to get on campus to get the process started,” Garcia said in a release by the school. “I have heard nothing but good things about the Brooksville community and the support they have for the high school.”

Hernando High went 5-5 in 2019 and missed the postseason for the first time in three years.

Lee said all of the interviews with Garcia and the other candidates were conducted through Zoom, which was a first. Garcia still needs to complete paperwork at the Hernando County office before joining the team.

“Hopefully we can get him on campus next week and meet the kids and get the Garcia III tenure going at Hernando High School,” Lee said.

Contact Kyle Wood at Follow @Kkylewood.