Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Armwood football coach Sean Callahan resigns

Armwood High coach Sean Callahan, who turned the football program into a state powerhouse, resigned Friday.

The longtime coach, who leaves with a 233-105 record, was already on an abbreviated timetable. This fall was supposed to be Callahan's final season. He was in the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program), a lucrative package for teachers who leave the profession within five years after signing up.

Callahan, who would only confirm via text message that he had stepped down, told the players after Thursday night's jamboree. He was set to enter his 28th season with the program and leaves a loaded team that will be a strong contender for a state title.

"I think Coach Callahan absolutely was one of the standard bearer," said Plant coach Robert Weiner, who had some epic county battles against Callahan's Hawks. "(Dominick Ciao and Earl Garcia), those guys continue, but Sean kind of took that mantle and became the standard bearer not only in the county, but even in the state."

"I remember talking to (quarterback) Robert Marve in 2005 and us pondering, 'Could we ever be something like this?' We knew that when we played Armwood, win or lose, we would come in Monday way better because we knew what it was like to play against the best."

Hired in 1983 as a linebackers coach at Boca Ciega, Callahan became coach of the Hawks seven years later. After having losing records in three of his first four seasons, Callahan started on his run that transformed the program into one of the state's best.

Armwood, under Callahan, made the playoffs the first time in 1996, advanced to the state semifinals in 2000 and in 2003 became the first public school team in Hills­borough County to win a state championship since Blake in 1969. The Hawks won another title the following year.

"There's several emotions I feel," said Hillsborough High coach Earl Garcia, who hired Callahan at Bogie. "First as a professional, his football team has been the team to beat in our district for a dozen years. He's done a remarkable job. His teams are known for being physical and well-coached, and I'm going to miss coaching against him, because Sean and I have been friends since 1983 and remain strong, close friends. I was taken aback."

Armwood's dominance was built in the weight room, something Callahan preached. A stifling defense and punishing running game were also hallmarks under Callahan.

He also remained loyal to the program.

Callahan resisted offers to become a college assistant in the past. He was a finalist for the Bradenton Manatee job in 2003, and in 2006 was a finalist for a $90,000 a year job in Valdosta, Ga.

In 2011, the program was investigated by the Florida High School Athletic Association on charges of recruiting and residency issues.

Recruiting was never proved, but five players were cited for falsifying residency claims. Armwood was fined $12,743 and stripped of 26 wins over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, including a state championship.

Callahan maintained his innocence.

Even after that setback, the Hawks remained contenders. Armwood advanced to three straight title games (2013-15) before losing in the region semifinals last season.

"I think he got the ball rolling for the success of the county again," said Jesuit coach Matt Thompson, who played and coached at Armwood under Callahan. "Back when we won in 2003, it was the first time in 30-something years that Hillsborough County had a state champion. I think he'll be remembered for that. I think he'll be remembered for all the kids he put into college. He's going to have a good legacy."

Times correspondent Kelly Parsons contributed to this report.

Armwood football coach Sean Callahan resigns 05/19/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 19, 2017 8:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry announced crowd of 24,325 at Raymond James Stadium.

    Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.

  5. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”