Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Springstead

Former Springstead coach Vonada publishes book

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On the surface, the Springstead 2010 football season unfolded like a bit of a fairytale.

A team that began 0-3, seemingly on its way to a nondescript campaign, pieced together a shocking turnaround that ended with the Eagles reaching the regional semifinals.

But that was merely the framework for a deeper, underlying storyline; a head coach and his family coping with his father's battle with leukemia as his team rallied behind him.

Bill Vonada wanted to convey that experience to the world, so strongly that he admits it at least played a small role in his decision to step down as Springstead's head coach last winter, ending a 15-year run at the helm.

On July 21, the Vonada-penned "A Season of Hope" became available as a Kindle eBook on Amazon.com.

This weekend paperback copies of the book have become available at CreateSpace.com, and within the next few days they'll be for sale on Amazon.

"It's kind of neat. I guess it's a sense of accomplishment, finishing it and getting it out there," Vonada said. "I've already gotten feedback. I've come to know I'm not a writer, but I'm an OK storyteller.

"I've always felt like we've all got a certain amount of wisdom or knowledge or experience that can help other people, and it's important to share it in any way we can."

???Vonada recalled a class he had taken several years ago, in which he was asked if he chose to write a book, what would be the topic?

"I thought I'd write one that talks about what I believe in in coaching," said Vonada, adding that his beliefs combined with the events of 2010 felt like a good story.

"My relationship with my father, then the team; the season started out rough. The guys were constantly looking out for each other, looking out for me, trying to find a way to improve the right way, and they had success on the field.

"But more important than success on the field was the way they came together."

The Eagles wound up finishing 6-6, earning the Class 5A, District 7 runner-up spot to advance to the postseason.

One of the most memorable moments came in a home game Oct. 22, a critical district matchup with Ocala-West Port.

Just hours after the passing of Vonada's father William, the Eagles pulled out a dramatic 31-28 triumph, dedicated to their head coach pacing the sideline with a heavy heart.

Springstead would eventually go on to capture the second playoff win in team history, 40-8 at Wiregrass Ranch.

From summer preparation on, the details of that season are chronicled in Vonada's book, written from his perspective. It provided an outlet for Vonada to express his feelings on his father's passing.

"I suppose I would be fine without it, but it was pretty helpful," Vonada said. "There was nothing else as a way to say thank you for his influence on my life, and all the other people who helped my family and I during that difficult time.

"I think there are a lot of different things to get out of it. The one for me is the concept of hope; that it makes people consider what their hope is based on."

He also would like to show how to get the most out of coaching football "by focusing on the right things."

"I hate to lose," Vonada said. "But if all they're taking away from the season is wins or losses, they've really sold themselves short, because there's a lot more lasting things to come out of it."

Vonada resigned his coaching duties in early December, having compiled an 80-74 record with the Eagles and guiding them to their first district title since 1996 last season.

Though he has not ruled out a return to the gridiron, at the moment he feels he needs to spend more time with his family.

Stepping back, something he said was "definitely the right decision," also afforded him the time to finish off his book, which he began writing last summer.

The Kindle edition currently sells at $5.99, while the paperback can be purchased for $19.95.

Still teaching at Springstead, his alma mater, Vonada will be donating $1 of every book sale starting Monday through Aug. 30 to the football team that still remains close to his heart.

"I certainly miss the guys, being around them every day," Vonada said. "I've always felt like if you don't have something you miss, then you waited too long."

cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com

(352) 544-5288

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