The coaching issue


Hayden Brown, Sports Editor

   Gulf Breeze High School excels in both sports and academics. The Dolphins have won the Regional Championship in Volleyball, the Regional Semifinals in Wrestling and are set to compete in the postseason for basketball and soccer this season. Despite this, the Dolphins have lost many coaches this year. There have been multiple coaching changes this year. This seemingly horrible issue does have a silver lining, however. The absence of many coaches provides an opportunity for Gulf Breeze to rebuild and recruit new coaches and talent.  

   The most pressing and recent coaching change has been Coach Bobby Clayton. Not only is he the head coach of two of the largest sports at GBHS, he also plans on bringing a majority of his football coaching staff with him to Fort Walton Beach High School. This leaves GBHS as the only team in the Pensacola area without a football coach and is undoubtedly the only team without a majority of its supporting staff. This includes Coach Keith Currington, former head coach for the girls lacrosse team.  

   Coach Clayton will be sorely missed at GBHS. The football team that Clayton coached had a winning record and only narrowly lost their game against Navarre. Clayton also led the 2016 Dolphins to a District Championship win. Clayton’s other coaching role as head baseball coach was also incredibly successful last year with a close loss in the District Championship. Coach Clayton’s stated reason for leaving was wanting a change of pace. “I’ve been always been between two high schools in this area in Gulf Breeze and Pine Forest. I just felt like it was time for a change and a move,” said Clayton. 

   Despite the mad dash to assemble a baseball coaching staff, the GBHS athletic department was able to recruit a promising new coach close to home. Warren Hannah, the new head coach, worked as an assistant to Bobby Clayton prior to this year. He played baseball at the University of South Alabama in Mobile as a catcher and was later drafted in the MLB draft.  

   Other notable absentees are Coach Travis Mattair, a pitching who departed from the baseball team at the end of last year’s season, as well as a vast majority of the girl’s lacrosse team’s coaches. Former Pensacola High School varsity girls lacrosse coach Ken “Mac” McIlhenny replaced the former Coach Keith Currington. Coach Mac coached for many years in Maryland, where lacrosse is much more popular and competitive than it is in this area. He then moved to Pensacola where he began coaching at Pensacola High School and running the LaxChix and LaxManiacs summer programs. He has now found his way to Gulf Breeze, where he plans to help run the recreational league to recruit more players for the high school team.  

   Despite the bittersweetness of many coaches moving on from GHBS, there are still numerous benefits. The new coaches that were drawn to Gulf Breeze will surely bring in new talent and energy into GBHS’s sports programs. While the older coaches will be missed, GBHS athletics will be able to move on and prosper with the many new faces on the school’s coaching staffs.