Friday, Aug 29, 2014
Central High School

Einspahr, Central part ways

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Published:   |   Updated: November 7, 2013 at 10:57 PM

Central High officially went on the hunt for a head football coach on Wednesday, posting the newly opened position on the FHSAA's website.

The Bears just completed a 0-10 season last Friday, their fourth year with Mike Einspahr at the helm.

"At the beginning of the week, myself, (Principal) Mr. (John) Stratton and Mike met and discussed the program and came to a mutual agreement that things weren't working out, and it was better off if both of us went in another direction," Central Athletic Director Al Sorrentino said.

Hired in March 2010, Einspahr arrived from Valley Heights High in Blue Rapids, Kan., seeking warm weather and a chance to become head coach.

He had previously been headman at Valley Heights from 1997-98, before moving on to various collegiate coaching and administrative positions.

Eventually he returned to Valley Heights as defensive coordinator prior to taking over at Central for Cliff Lohrey.

Einspahr inherited a program already in trouble. The Bears went 1-9 in 2009, their only win coming in a loss to Ocala-West Port turned into a forfeit after the fact.

But Central has been unable to reverse that downward trend, going 2-8 in 2010, then 1-9 the past two seasons.

This is actually the third time in five seasons that the Bears have gone winless on the field. They also benefitted from a win forfeited by Land O' Lakes in 2011.

Central's last winning season came when it went 6-4 in 2007, a year after current Green Bay Packers running back DuJuan Harris led the Bears to a district title.

The Bears did produce their first 1,000-yard rusher since Harris this season, as senior Robbie Bradley totaled 1,154 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.

Sorrentino said the coaching vacancy will be posted on the school district's website shortly, and the hope is to have a new coach in place before winter break.

When reached for comment, Einspahr reflected back on his rocky tenure.

"We had some kids transfer early on to Nature Coast. We've been through the opening of Weeki Wachee," Einspahr said. "We happen to play in a (district) that was extremely tough and unforgiving.

"I'd say, especially this year, we made some strides in the last three years. But obviously not big enough to get the wins to continue in my direction. . We needed to get over the hump this year and it just didn't happen.

"It's very difficult. It's the first job I've been in where I was not able to get over the hump."

Nevertheless, Einspahr was he was "extremely happy" he and his family came to Florida.

"I haven't had to break out my winter coat in four years," Einspahr said. "I've met some great people in Hernando County. We had another daughter here in July.

"I'm not going to let this define me. I will coach again next year, somewhere. I'll definitely take it as a learning experience."

Einspahr said some friends within the coaching ranks have already reached out to him with potential jobs offers. In the meantime, he remains an ESE teacher at Central.

However, he will also be relinquishing his duties as girls weightlifting coach after running the team's initial practices. The season starts Wednesday, and Sorrentino is in the process of finding a replacement.

Additionally Einspahr won't be returning as boys weightlifting head coach in the spring.

"He's worked very, very hard," Sorrentino said. "He's put in as much time as any other coach, probably more so. We have no problem with the effort he's put in.

"He's a great guy and I'm sure he'll get another opportunity to coach, maybe a better situation for him that'll work out a little better."

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

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