Larry Blustein

SPRING SPOTLIGHT: Some Local Coaches Have Returned To Their Alma Mater

Larry Blustein
May 15, 2019 - 11:06 am

Sabbath Joseph was one of the best linebackers Miami Central has produced in the modern era. Quarterback Rakeem Cato, receiver Tommy Shuler and safety Durell Eskridge were also impressive members of this program as well.

Today, along with many others, these former standouts have returned to help their program continue to shine in the spotlight.

While Central has maintained success with its former player coming back – they are not alone. Several south Florida high schools have called up their impressive alumni to return and give back what they have learned along the way.

Head coach Roland Smith, a Miami Northwestern product, is excited that his former Central players have come back to teach and add to what this program has long produced.

“You come back and maybe the experiences that you have had in college or professionally can make a difference,” Cato said. “You have the chance to develop quarterbacks and they listen because they understand what you went through to lay the groundwork.”

South Florida is not only the king of football talent, but when a star-quality football talent like Derrick Gibson, who spent several years at Central, gets the chance to go back to his alma mater – and bring others with him, it is huge to the school, players and the coaches.

Gibson, an All-State performer at Miami Killian, has carved out quite a path – that included FSU and in the NFL. His return this spring to coach the Cougars has been a huge thing.

“Look at the way that Ed Reed, Warren Sapp and so many others have come back to the University of Miami and have provided lasting relationships,” Dana Wiley of Prep Films Florida pointed out. “The local high schools see that, and are now having former icons back on their campus, which is working out real well.”

Because Teddy Bridgewater has always been approachable and a great role model, his daily visits to see people in his old community may be taken for granted by some. After all, Bridgewater was a first round NFL selection and is currently backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans.

Bridgewater shows up at practice, comes to 7-on-7 events and also lift up his community by providing so much for so many who do not have.

Look at so many schools in south Florida and you will see either a head coach or assistant coaches serving at their alma mater, which is huge for pride and the community.

Some of the other Miami-Dade programs who have former players includes Roger Pollard (Coral Gables), Corey Smith (Miami High) and Jeff Bertani, who has coaches longer than any other south Florida product – making and impact at North Miami Beach.

For longtime Miami Norland head coach Darryle Heidelburg, a former Vikings’ quarterback, has added former players throughout his career.

Taking over as head coach two years ago, Eddie Delgado has never had a problem getting Miami Belen Jesuit products like himself to come back and help lead the Wolverines.

Miami Southridge is also a program that has never had a problem getting former Spartans – such as Sedrick Irvin and many others to return.

Hialeah alum Gary Sanchez brought his school a district title last year as they move to 7A this season. 

In Broward, Roger Harriott and the many former St. Thomas Aquinas alumni have been coaching the Raiders for many years.

Cooper City graduate Danny Carlisle returned back home last year – and added some other alumni along with him.

At Fort Lauderdale High, Richard Dunbar has done so much to elevate his alma mater.

Even though Brandon Graham has been around the Hollywood Hills program since he graduated, getting former Spartans to come back.

Eddie Frasier is another who has a number of former Fort Lauderdale Dillard coaches to return to the community – much the way that Travis Harden has done with Stranahan.

Defending 5A state champion Cardinal Gibbons has a few coaches who didn’t attend the school, but with head coach Matt Dubuc and others, the Chiefs have brought some quality people back home.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CHUCK BETHEL

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