Cape Coral High's Brad Metheny hasn't coached his first regular-season football game for the Seahawks yet, but he's not even the newest coach in town.
That distinction goes to Mariner's Chris Siner, who was hired Aug. 16, less than three weeks before the Tritons' season opening matchup against (who else?) Cape High on Sept. 3. Siner took over the struggling program after the sudden departure of Chad O'Brien on Aug. 2, a mere seven days before the start of fall practice.
O'Brien led the Tritons to a combined 11-19 record over three seasons, including 1-9 last fall.
Siner becomes the 10th coach in the school's 23-year history, and just the third since 2002.
The third, and only other new varsity coach at a Lee County public school this season, is Rob Hinson at Riverdale. Hinson replaced Tom Roszell, for whom Hinson had been an assistant coach since 1994 at Lehigh and Riverdale.
Siner, who played two years of varsity football at Mariner and graduated in 1994, is undertaking his first head coaching job. After graduating from Florida State in 1999 with a degree in physical education, Siner went to work at Immokalee the next fall.
He left Immok-alee briefly to teach and be an assistant coach for the Tritons and then-coach Robert Butz for the 2003-04 season. Siner returned to Immokalee and most recently was offensive coordinator for the Indians.
"I got my love of coaching football from Coach Joe Roles (Mariner, 1987-94) and my coaching mentor was John Weber at Immokalee," said Siner. "I learned a lot about coaching from Weber, who retired in 2007."
Coming into the program with so little time before the first game, Siner will lean heavily on the established schemes and style the Tritons use.
"(Offensive coordinator Steve) Larsen and the other coaches have been there for a long time," said Siner. "I will stay with the triple option offense that Larsen runs, because I am a fan of the triple option. It's a bit late to make major changes and it's more important that the kids are comfortable with what they are doing on the field. My contribution will be to establish the 4-3 attack defense that we used at Immokalee that coach (John) Weber was the architect of."
The Tritons have a long road ahead of them to drag themselves back to district contender on the heels of two lackluster seasons of 4-6 and 1-9 under O'Brien.
"The kids know what the expectations are," said Siner, "and 1-9 is not the expectation. Our goal is to improve on that."
Metheny replaces Mike Goebbel, who resigned for health reasons after serving three seasons. Goebbel is the Seahawks' all-time winningest football coach (28-8, .778 winning percentage). He led the Seahawks to the playoffs each of his three seasons and capped it off by winning the school's first district championship since 1993.
Metheny brings 23 years of coaching experience to the program, a time during which he has never experienced a losing season. Formerly the head coach at Frostproof, Metheny played and was a graduate assistant at the University of West Virginia.
Metheny compiled a 34-11 record over four seasons at Frostproof, winning district and regional titles as well as playing in the state final four two of those years.
"I was looking to get back into a bigger high school," Metheny said upon his hiring in March. "(I wanted) a change to a big high school program or small college, but at my age college no longer is on my list, or it is quickly diminishing. I am here to stay."
Cape Coral is not even his second stop in Florida. After several years at a four-school consolidation in his home county in West Virginia, Metheny moved to Florida to become defensive coordinator at Lake Wales. He also was an assistant at Lake Region High and had a two-year stint at Weber University prior to taking the job at Frostproof.
Metheny not only has big shoes to fill as Seahawks coach, but has a number of holes to plug in the lineup left by the graduation of five Division I players - Jaylen Watkins (Florida), Jeremy Davis (MIami), Dan Koenig (Oklahoma State) and Spencer Boyd (granted a transfer by Notre Dame to USF over the summer).
Hinson, 37, played one year of football at Cypress Lake in addition to baseball, which earned him a baseball roster spot at Palm Beach Atlantic and Embry Riddle University before his playing days were over. The graduate of South Florida stepped right in at Lehigh under Roszell for eight years, before moving over to Riverdale as defensive coordinator for Scott Jones in 2002. Hinson was defensive coordinator under Roszell the past four seasons with the Raiders.
"I'm going to keep with the Riverdale tradition," said Hinson. "We got the program on the right track since '03, better than a .500 record and won some district titles. I've talked to the kids about maintaining a winning attitude, and the tradition of being a physical team not afraid to run the ball. The main goal this year is a team concept. We have a lot of young kids, who I want to stress unity. With 30 juniors we'll have for two years we have to start right now."
Hinson is confident the Raiders, who won eight straight games to go 9-2 last season and District 3A-11 champions (5-0), will be competitive in a tough district with the likes of South Fort Myers, Bishop Verot, North Fort Myers, Fort Myers and Mariner, all solid programs again for 2010.
"We play Cape in the (preseason) jamboree, which will be a good test for us right off the bat," said Hinson, who made his head coaching debut in the spring classic against Ida Baker. "We play some pretty good teams outside of our district, too."