NEW PORT RICHEY- For the eighth time in the past decade, Gulf High School had a decision to make on hiring a new head football coach. This time, the school hopes they have a mainstay in place.
Gulf Athletic Director Bruno Buonsanto told The Suncoast News Thursday that the school will be tabbing Sean Eperjesi as the next head coach of the football program. Eperjesi replaces Daniel McLeod, who stepped down as the program’s head coach after the 2020 season. Eperjesi was selected over former Gulf/Ridgewood coach Jay Fulmer and Fivay offensive coordinator Daniel Gigantelli.
Eperjesi led the middle school program at Gulf Middle School to its first conference championship in 43 years and an undefeated season. Below is an official press release from the school on the hiring.
“Gulf High School is proud to announce the hiring of their new Head Football Coach, Sean Eperjesi, better known as "Coach E." We are very confident in his experience, community support and rapport with our current students to lead the school’s football program now and into the future. Coach Eperjesi is a graduate of Robinson High School in Tampa, where he was a 3-year starter and team captain under Coach Mike Depue. He received a NCAA Division II scholarship to play football at Gannon University, where he was a 4-year starter, team captain, and instrumental in the turnaround of the program under Head Coach Jim Kiernan. Eperjesi has extensive coaching background across levels, from the collegiate level to youth camps. He started his coaching career as a freshman offensive line coach and assistant head coach for Strong Vincent High School in Erie, PA (now Erie High School). His demonstrated expertise led to him being requested as a guest coach for multiple lineman camps, including The Prep Ramblers Camp in Erie, PA and the Rhino Lineman Camp in Saginaw, MI. He then spent a year as the defensive ends coach at Gannon University under Head Coach Brad Rzyczycki. For the past several years, Coach Eperjesi has been at Gulf Middle School coaching the Buccaneers. He developed a successful football program and built a large community following in the City of New Port Richey. The hard work put into the program culminated into a conference championship for the first time in 43 years for Gulf Middle School. Coach E is looking forward to continuing to build on the current foundation and working with his former players, now at the high school, to develop a winning culture made up of accomplished student-athletes with uncompromising character. Coach E. brings a tireless work ethic, a passionate attitude for success, and a team mentality that’s “all in” for the growth and future of our Gulf High Buccaneer student-athletes.”
The last time Gulf reached the playoffs was back in 2014, when the Buccaneers went 8-3 under Jason Messamore. Since then, Gulf has not recorded a winning season and the Buccaneers have only won three games since 2014, going 3-54 combined the last six seasons. Gulf hasn’t had consecutive winning campaigns since 2009 and 2010, when the Buccaneers went 6-4 and 7-3 under the watch of Jay Fulmer and Kenneth Hollar, respectively.
The Buccaneers are currently in the midst of one of their worst stretches record-wise in the school’s long history fielding a football program. Gulf hired McLeod during the last off-season, replacing Jason Grain, who resigned as the head coach two summers ago.
The list of Gulf coaches since 2010 now includes McLeod, Grain, Hollar, Messamore, Bruno Buonsanto, Tom Carter and Matt Kitchel. When McLeod resigned after the season, the program was left in search of their eighth head coach in the last decade.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.