NEW PORT RICHEY — One of Pasco County’s longest-tenured softball coaches will no longer be roaming the dugout at Gulf High.
Buccaneers coach Rick Hohenthaner said he officially resigned from his position Tuesday morning. His resignation comes a day after Gulf was ousted by Sunlake 2-1 in the opening round of the Class 5A-District 8 tournament.
Hohenthaner informed his players of his decision after the Sunlake game and e-mailed Gulf administrators Tuesday morning.
“The decision was kept under wraps until last night,” said Hohenthaner, who compiled 163 wins during his 13-year tenure at Gulf. “This decision was in the making for a couple years now. I initially considered retiring in 2012, but I wanted to see this senior group through. When we won the district title last season, it rejuvenated my coaching juices to stay on for one more season. I knew all along this would be my last season.”
Hohenthaner took over at Gulf in 2002 and had a quick impact. Gulf reached the postseason in 2005 and defeated Citrus Crystal River in a region quarterfinal matchup. Last season, the Buccaneers went 15-14, overcame forfeiting seven games and still nabbed the 5A-8 championship, the school’s first in softball. They were knocked out in the region semifinals.
Gulf finished this season 7-5.
“When I took over Gulf softball, I felt like I was taking a toy from the island of misfit toys,” Hohenthaner said. “When we got into the state tournament in 2005, it validated my philosophies as a coach. We’ve had some tremendous teams that didn’t reach the postseason.
“These last two or three years, we’ve reaped the benefits of the players from the past like Amanda Gardner, Julie Wisniewski and Jessica Santoli. I’ve told the players they’re standing on the shoulders of those kids.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.