Ridaught: EHS football opens with interim coach

Today is the first day of spring football for high schools across the state.

However, in Gainesville, there is one program that will be without a head football coach during spring ball.

Alex DeLeon stepped down as head football coach a week ago, so assistant coach Quinton Jefferson will serve as the interim coach for now.

Last week, The Prep Zone ran a poll asking who should be Eastside’s next football coach.

Let’s explore those four options.

First is Bill Wiles, who is known to have ties with EHS AD Philip Crutchfield. Wiles is the most experienced coach on the list and would hit the ground running day one. 

Crutchfield desires a coach with a proven track record of turning around programs. Wiles’ single-wing offense would be an excellent fit for the speed on Eastside’s roster.

Another option is Harold ‘Gator’ Hoskins. 

He is an EHS alum that played at Marshall and in the NFL. Hoskins, who is third all-time at Marshall with 28 touchdown catches, has the support of the alumni base who are actively campaigning for him to be named head coach. 

Many believe Hoskins, who is popular in the community, would excite the fan base and bring an end to the poaching of talent by nearby schools. 

Coming up under Kent Johnson, could he return EHS to the top spot in Alachua County? Hoskins would be the first EHS alum to be named head football coach at Eastside.

Gainesville’s Dock Pollard was listed in the poll, but is he a viable option? He was rumored to have desired the Eastside position prior to being offered the job at Gainesville High School. 

Pollard, formerly on staff at Eastside, has ties to both the Rams football and basketball programs. But would he trade in his Purple for Orange and Green?

Meanwhile, Jefferson is already on staff and was promoted from defensive coordinator to interim head coach after Coach DeLeon stepped down. 

Known to be popular among the players at EHS, Jefferson, a longtime assistant to Hall of Fame coach Danny Green, has worked his way up through the coaching ranks. 

I’ve heard that the EHS administration was pleased with the direction of the program prior to DeLeon stepping down. Does Eastside stay the course and remove the interim coach tag?

“With change comes opportunity,” Crutchfield said. “We’ve received a high volume of interest in our head football coaching position. There are a lot of coaches reaching out that see the potential in the Eastside football program.

“Fortunately, we have a quality group of assistant coaches and a solid interim head coach in Quinton Jefferson, which will allow us to proceed with spring football without our players missing a beat.”

Time will tell, as Eastside will wait until after spring practice to make a decision.

“This allows us to take our time during the hiring process,” Crutchfield said. “We’ve begun reviewing applicants and researching candidates. We’re looking to have a new head football coach announcement following our spring football game.”

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