By: Ken LaVicka
The new era in Loxahatchee has arrived.
With Signing Day now a memory and spring football now the focus at Seminole Ridge, new head coach Steven Humphrey has been on campus and is eager to get to work.
"Everyone's kind of opened their arms, given a warm welcome, and I’m just happy to be here," Humphrey said while attending the Hawks' Signing Day ceremony last Wednesday.
"I’m happy to be a Seminole Ridge Hawk and just want to do my part to make everyone a little better."
Humphrey is adjusting to his new role and realizing the large shoes he'll have to fill replacing Matt Dickmann, who had been the only football coach in the history of the school. Dickmann resigned his post in late December take a head coaching job at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga. Humphrey was hired as Dickmann's successor just weeks later after a two-year stint as Palm Bay's offensive coordinator.
"We haven’t missed a beat. Coach Dickmann and [assistant coach Justin] Hilliker have been doing a great job of establishing a foundation and every day we want to get better, and so we’ve been in the weight room and we’ve been grinding every day."
Humphrey spent all of last week meeting his new players, getting to know faculty, and evaluating assistant coaches. He didn't sound like a coach who was expecting many members of Dickmann's staff to stay on for 2013.
"Yeah, we’ve met as a staff, some guys are hopefully coming back, but we're kind of halfway through the evaluation period. I’m going to get there and hopefully get coaches on board to establish [our philosophy] early so then that way when the schedule comes out, we can start moving forward. We never want to miss a day when we can get better."
Humphrey won't have the services of Hilliker, who was serving as the interim head coach prior to Humphrey's hire. Hilliker has already made the decision to leave coaching for a year and go back to school to get a degree, a promise he made to his father.
What Humphrey is inheriting is a program that has won back-to-back district titles and five playoff victories in the last five years, including a trip to the regional final in November, a loss to Cypress Bay.
Seminole Ridge is coming off its most successful senior output ever, having five Hawks sign Division I offers, most notably DT Kyle Shortridge to Louisville and LB Rayfield Dixon to Minnesota. Humphrey hopes to follow up on that momentum.
"It’s great that [Seminole Ridge] is signing this many Division I kids but my job is to make sure that the 2013 class has the opportunity to play at the next level if that’s what they do. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing at Bowling Green, Louisville, FIU, as long as they get to play at the next level and they can prepare themselves and better themselves education-wise.
"They say only 1% can make it in the NFL, we just want to make sure that they get on and can better their family and come back here. It doesn’t matter if it’s Southwest Minnesota State, Tusculum College (Humphrey's alma mater) or Webber International, if they get a chance to play at the next level and they get their degree paid for that’s what it’s about."
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