LAND O’ LAKES — Just when you thought the high school football head coaching searches were getting narrowed down, another one opened up at a seemingly unlikely program.
Trey Burdick confirmed via text with The Suncoast News that he had been dismissed as Sunlake’s head football coach Thursday morning.
Five Pasco County high schools have now opened searches for new football head coaches this offseason. Anclote and River Ridge join Sunlake as programs still looking to name new coaches.
Schools in the county that have already made hirings are Pasco (Alphonso Freeney) and Bishop McLaughlin (Bob Dare).
Burdick served as the head coach at Sunlake for three seasons and went 8-21 during his time. His best campaign came in 2019, going 4-6. In September of that season, Burdick was named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Coach of the Week. The former Seahawk assistant succeeded former longtime coach Bill Browning, who retired from head coaching after the 2018 season.
“The past 13 years at Sunlake have been some of the most rewarding years of my life,” Burdick said. “Thank you Ms. Stone and Coach (Bill) Browning for hiring me all those years ago. Obviously these past 3 years we wanted to win more games, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of the growth these guys had as people.”
“Boys became young men and I’m going to miss them," Burdick continued. "My hope is that they become great husbands, great fathers, great citizens. I’m thankful for our fans, parents and student body. Through everything, their support was unwavering. I know Mrs. Merlin and her staff are going to hire an amazing coach and Sunlake will do great things. I can’t wait to see them bring that Butter Bowl trophy back next year!”
Injuries certainly plagued what could’ve been a turnaround season for the Seahawks in 2021, as senior quarterback Kevin Spillane was out for most of the campaign. Spillane ended up returning to play in the annual East vs. West Pasco County All-Star Game, played at Sunlake.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.