By Matt Mauney | Staff Writer
There will be many new names and faces on the sidelines this year at Plant City High School.
Eight sports will have new head coaches at PCHS for the 2012-13 school year. Six of those positions — volleyball, baseball, girls soccer, swimming (boys and girls) and cross country — have been filled, Athletic Director Traci Durrance said. The search for the new Raiders softball and girls track coaches is ongoing.
Fall sports will feature four new coaches: Jessica Thorton (volleyball), Elizabeth Rheaume and Gerold Yoder (swimming), and Luke Beevor (cross country). For the winter season, Caleb Roberts will lead the girls soccer team, and for spring, Mike Fryrear will assume the reins for the baseball program.
Of the six new hires, Thorton and Rheaume are the only ones with previous head-coaching experience.
“We like to look at their experience in the sport itself,” Durrance said, pointing out that experience can and has come from all levels in the past, from middle school and youth coaches to players and coaches in college and even professional ranks. “We want to make sure that they fit into our culture here and look for coaches that want to be here long-term and not only be good for our teams, but be good role models for the kids.”
Thorton brings five years of head coaching experience with her most recent stint coming at Cyprus Lake High in Fort Myers. She is familiar with many of the teams in district, having previously coached at East Bay. She will take over for an improving PCHS volleyball program that advanced to region last year for the first time in 29 years.
Rheaume and Yoder will share head-coaching responsibilities for the girls and boys teams. Rheaume is currently on staff as a math teacher at PCHS but will be getting involved with the swim program for the first time. Yoder comes to PCHS from Eisenhower Middle and will be taking his first crack in the high school coaching ranks.
Beevor will bring plenty of relevant experience to the PCHS cross country program. Originally from England, Beevor was a standout runner, including taking a silver medal at a national competition. He also ran cross country for Florida State. In addition to leading both the boys and girls teams, he will teach math at PCHS.
Roberts, the older brother of Cameron Roberts, a recent graduate and former standout at PCHS, will take over the girls soccer program this winter. He, too, is a PCHS alum, graduating in 2004 and continuing his playing career at Palm Beach Atlantic.
The Raiders girls soccer program has seen recent success, including making it to region the past two seasons.
Fryrear is a 2000 graduate of Durant High and was a four-year starter under coach Gary Graham. Fryrear played his college ball for the University of North Florida, where he was a four-year starter as a second baseman for the Ospreys.
After graduating in 2004, Fryrear became a graduate assistant at UNF under College Hall of Fame coach Dusty Rhodes in 2006 and later became the director of baseball operations in addition to being an assistant coach. He graduated with a master’s degree
in educational leadership in 2007 and was hired as an assistant at Flagler College in St. Augustine, where he remained until 2009. Most recently, he was an assistant at Wiregrass Ranch High before a brief stint with Windermere Prep in Orlando.
“I’m looking to create a good baseball atmosphere here,” Fryrear said. “We’re hoping to get the students and parents excited to bring the whole family out to games. That starts with winning, so that’s our top priority, but we want to get everybody excited about the future of this program.”
Fryrear also will be teaching at PCHS, as well — something
Durrance expects to bring stability to her roster of coaches.
“We had one of the highest amounts of coaches that were not teaching here, (because of) a lack of teaching positions being available,” she said, noting that five of the team sports coaches previously were off-campus.
Contact Matt Mauney at firstname.lastname@example.org.