SARASOTA -- Little did Andrew Lascari know when he visited his parents' summer home in Sarasota through the years his dream job was waiting nearby.
On Friday night, Cardinal Mooney held an official meet and greet to introduce Lascari as the school's new head football coach. Lascari will take over for Josh Smithers, who is an assistant coach at Riverview.
"The number one reason I took the job here is because of the team's support system," Lascari said. "From the administrators to the athletic director and students, I just felt this was the best place to build a great program. Coming down over the years, I got the chance to see all the talent in the area, too."
The 30-year-old served as Don Bosco Prep's offensive coordinator for the past six seasons, helping the team capture a national championship and a victory over Manatee in 2011.
The Cougars may have one of the best coaching staffs in the area considering former Southeast High head coach Paul Maechtle will stay on board after working with the team through the spring as its interim coach.
"The greatest thing about Coach Maechtle is that he doesn't have an ego or get threatened; he just wants to help, and I'm going to need it," Lascari said. "There are going to be situations I'm not going to be familiar with as a former coordinator, and I'll need his experience to help guide me."
Now that Reese Vita, one of the school's most decorated quarterbacks, is heading to college, the team will rely on a young and unproven guy, a challenge Lascari relishes.
"There is no question I'm an offensive-minded coach, but I'll have to evaluate my team before I can implement a scheme," Lascari said. "I am a huge believer that you mold your system around the team you have, especially in high school."
While expectations will be high, Lascari understands it will take time to build the kind of program he envisions.
"We have one (heck) of a schedule next season; I'm not going to say we will win them all, but I can promise you we will play hard each game," Lascari said. "The greatest thing about the game of football is it teaches young men how to overcome adversity. It's not about getting knocked down but how you get back up."
Lascari has not officially named his full coaching staff yet, but will have his brother join who was also an assistant with him at Don Bosco.
If all things go as expected, Lascari's parents may turn that summer home into a permanent residence.