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Wiregrass Ranch announces Mike Lawrence as new football coach

Posted Dec 11, 2012 by Mike Camunas

Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM

There couldn’t be a more perfect fit for Wiregrass Ranch.

Athletic director Dave Wilson announced Tuesday morning that Bulls offensive coordinator Mike Lawrence will be promoted to head coach, becoming the third head coach in the program’s short history.

“I felt it was just meant to happen,” said Lawrence, who added that returning players had show excitement on campus with his promotion. “I am truly blessed to have this opportunity.”

“We are very excited to have coach Lawrence lead our football program,” Wilson added in a statement. “He has a lot of experience and will bring excitement and energy to our team.”

Lawrence replaces Jeremy Shobe, who resigned last month after back-to-back winless seasons, but did lead the Bulls to their lone playoff appearance in 2010 (6-5). Shobe spent four seasons at the helm after taking over for Ricky Thomas, who started the football program.

The Bulls, however, are in the midst of a 22-game losing streak that dates back to a 58-13 loss to Pasco on Nov. 12, 2010.

“The biggest thing is showing them what it takes — hard work only goes so far,” Lawrence said. “Once they change their mental state, things will change. I’ve been in this situation and my coach at the time helped me get through it and how to change mentally. I know what it takes to change, that preparation will change the mind set and that’s the direction we’ll take.”

Lawrence was referring to when he played in arena league football in Illinois as part of a team that wasn’t very successful, just as the Bulls haven’t been the past two seasons.

As offensive coordinator this past season, the Bulls scored 61 points, which is an improvement on the 46 they scored in 2011, but was outscored 801-107 in the past two years. Lawrence was also promoted over Bulls defensive coordinator Adamm Oliver, who has also applied for the vacant position at Wesley Chapel.

Lawrence also played running back at Kansas State University, and in 1997, broke the record as the all-time leading rusher. Lawrence also played professional football from 1999–2008 with the Tennessee Thundercats (IFL/IPFL), Rheinmain Razorbacks of the German Football League and the River City Rage (NIFL/UIFL), and previously served as an assistant coach at Dunedin, as well as a couple of schools before landing at Wiregrass.

Administration will hold a meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria for players and parents to meet Lawrence.

Lawrence adds that he hasn’t “crossed that bridge” on whether he will continue to call the plays or hire another assistant. However, he does return many talented players, such as quarterback Shane Bucenell, and hopes to turn the 2013 into a success, as did Hudson’s new coach, Mark Kantor, who came in and changed the Cobras’s losing mentality.

“It’s been a little crazy right now, but there’s a lot of work to be done,” Lawrence said. “We all know there’s a lot of work and change to be done here.”

Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.

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