Manatee's Joe Kinnan steps down as athletic director

jlembo@bradenton.comDecember 6, 2013 

Coach Joe Kinnan yells during Manatee's homecoming game against the Riverview Rams Friday night at Hawkins Stadium. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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— Joe Kinnan is stepping down as Manatee’s athletic director, he announced Friday night.

But he has every intention to remain the team’s head football coach.

Kinnan resigned as the AD after the first of the year and told his coaches five weeks ago of his decision.

“This is the direction I decided to go,” he said Friday.

A three-time cancer survivor -- his last two bouts with the disease came in 2010, when he had a kidney removed, and 2011 -- Kinnan wants to focus on coaching.

“A lot of stuff has happened that has made it hard for me to do the best job I can,” Kinnan said, referring in part to the baseball program’s recent struggles regarding former coach Dwayne Strong's alleged financial improprieties.

The football program has come under scrutiny as well. Former assistant coach Rod Frazier resigned this past summer after he was suspended while authorities investigated accusations of improper contact between Frazier and students and other staff members at Manatee High. The charges relate to incidents that reportedly date back to 2006.

Kinnan has repeatedly said Frazier's actions had nothing to do with the football program because he was in his role as a student liaison when the contact was alleged to have occurred.

Kinnan served as the school’s AD during part of his first stint as the school’s football coach, which lasted from 1981-2000. Working as the athletic director wasn’t the plan when Kinnan returned to coach Manatee in 2005, but he took over in 2007 when Frank Turner resigned.

“I should have given it back then,” Kinnan said. “But I was talked into staying.”

Handling the two titles is harder than it was in the past, he said.

“It’s tough to focus on that and coaching,” Kinnan said. “It’s not like it was 20 years ago – the paperwork has tripled. ... I’m behind a desk all day.”

C Kinnan said his health his good enough for him to continue coaching the Hurricanes, who went 11-1 this year and lost in the Class 8A-Region 2 semifinals to Fort Pierce Central.

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