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UPDATE: Coggin dismissed as Vero Beach head football coach

VERO BEACH – After five years, Vero Beach coach Gary Coggin has let go as head football coach. Under his tenure, Vero Beach was 35-20, won 2 district titles, and made the playoffs every year.

They won back to back district titles in 2007 and 2008. But that was not enough. Vero Beach Athletic Director Tim Tharp said it was an overall evaluation of the program, not just the play off loses.

“We have a lot respect for Coach Coggin and we appreciate what he has done for the program, Tharp said Tuesday.

Coach Coggin’s last game was a 37-15 loss to Seminole Ridge in the Region 2-6A quarterfinals. Vero Beach ended its season with a 6-4 record.

Coach Coggin said he was disappointed in the decision but that he understood and respected the decision.

“I have no regrets,” he said. “I have five years of great memories. I waited 28 years to be head coach. You want to work for a program that wants to win. I think I did it the right way, I did it with class. But there are no hard feelings.”

“He’s a good friend of mine,” said St. Edward’s football coach Bill Motta, who coached with Coggin under Billy Livings. “He’s a good man. No one is always going to agree with your coaching style. Vero Beach has high expectations. But I coached for him and I was always pleased. My son played for him and I was always pleased.”

Athletic Director Tharp said he is looking for someone with a unique combination of qualities to fill Coggin’s position.

“We prefer someone with head coaching experience, high character, high integrity,” he said. “Someone who has had success on the field. Someone who is concerned about the players off the field just as much as they are on the field, like Coach Coggin. That combination is hard to find.”

Coach Coggin was an assistant coach under Billy Livings for 16 years, before taking over in 2005.

“Vero Beach is held to higher standard because of what he did,” Coach Coggin said of taking over after Livings. “We have a great tradition here. Everyone is used to winning.”

Coach Coggin will continue on as a Physical Education teacher, at the high school and continue to help the team with offseason workouts until a replacement is found.

It will up to the new coach as to what role, if any, Coggin will play as the team moves forward.

“I still have a burning desire to coach,” said Coggin. “I love coaching football. I love Vero Beach. Vero Beach is home to me now. This is family to me.”

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