Manatee High received 70 resumes in search for football coach Joe Kinnan's replacement

School received 70 resumes; in-house candidates to be interviewed Friday

jlembo@bradenton.comJune 26, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Manatee High School remains a popular destination for football coaches.

Just ask Jason Montgomery.

Roughly two days after announcing nationally the Hurricanes are looking for a new head coach, Manatee's athletic director has received about 70 resumes.

The opening was created last week when legendary head coach Joe Kinnan said he is taking a medical leave of absence for the 2014-15 school year.

"It's a very interesting mix," Montgomery said Wednesday.

Applicants range from Washington state to New York, from experienced prep and college coaches to guys who have logged time in the Arena Football League.

But Montgomery hasn't turned a blind eye to the Hurricanes' seasoned staff members, many of whom have been with Kinnan for decades. Internal candidates are being interviewed Friday.

"I'm completely open to either possibility," Montgomery said. "I feel like the guys on staff, when they come in here, I'm anxious see how they approach it. They need to say why this is the route we need to go. At the same time, you want someone that has an understanding of the tradition we have here, of what Joe built, and who appreciates the staff we have in place."

Kinnan won 290 games and five state championships in two stints at Manatee.

"Whomever they hire to replace him, the community has to get behind that coach and see to it that they have success," said Willie Taggart, the head football coach at the University of South Florida who quarterbacked Manatee to a state title in 1992 and back to a state final in '93. "Last time that happened, everybody didn't buy into it. And it will be bad, too, if everybody doesn't buy into it.

"Everybody has to realize the next guy is not going to be Joe Kinnan. But I think the next guy has to embrace the culture that Kinnan brought to Manatee High and live off of it and do it the Manatee High Hurricane way and not necessarily Joe Kinnan's way -- but the winning way he built around there."

Another star quarterback under Kinnan, Cord Sandberg, credited Kinnan for his ability to change with the times.

"He was an older guy, but he would continue to develop and stay current and was really open to change on the offensive side of the ball," said Sandberg, who helped Kinnan win his fifth state title in 2011 and is playing professional baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies' Rookie League team in Williamsport, Pa. "It was awesome."

Picking someone to replace Kinnan is arduous enough. Making it even tougher for Montgomery is the timing. Summer workouts begin in about six weeks, and the regular season gets underway Aug. 29.

"We had some people reach out to us, people who wanted the opportunity to come over here," he said. "But the timing does hurt. There are a couple of coaches who would have been interested if the season had just ended. We want someone who has been there, done that, and those guys generally are already in good programs.

"(And there) is the system. We want someone is who is going to fit our system. Part of the consideration of the timing is the appreciation of what we run and personnel that we have."

Montgomery said he has a lot of digging to do before he starts making calls, but plans on making some serious headway by the beginning of next week.

He has plenty of work to do, but plenty of options, too.

"I feel pretty good about the applicant pool, and every day, we're getting more good people reaching out to us, and we're reaching out to some people," Montgomery said. "I think we're going to be OK."

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