The Ruskin Eagles have won only two football games over the past three seasons.
That model of inconsistency on the field can at least partially be attributed to the lack of stability within the coaching staff. The Eagles will welcome their fourth new coach to the program over the past four seasons.
The latest man for the job — Kiwaukee Thomas — says he’s in it for the long term.
“My seniors have had four coaches come in here and tell them everything they want to hear, so you can’t blame them if they haven’t bought into it,” Thomas said. “It’s my job to show them I will back up the things I preach.”
Thomas enjoyed an eight-year career in the NFL — five with the Jacksonville Jaguars, one with the Miami Dolphins and two with the Buffalo Bills.
Ruskin offered the former defensive back his first high school head coaching gig, and he jumped at the opportunity.
In an effort to change the losing culture surrounding the program, Thomas’ first course of action was to get the players’ families more involved.
“I’m creating structure with the parents because I want everyone in this community on the same page,” Thomas said. “Before I let anyone play on this team, I have to meet their parents. That forces the parents to be involved. That’s the only way we’re all on the same page all the way around.”
Thomas says the rebuilding process with his defense has already shown significant progress, with safety Montel Berry and outside linebacker Andrew Johnson paving the way.
He labeled junior wide receiver Rhochard Lawrence and offensive lineman Mike Young as the key players for the offense.