The latest news from the world of Florida high school football
Plant’s Robert Weiner
Walks Away from USF
‘I’m a High School Coach’
Photo by Steven Lee
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THE TRUE MEASURE OF PLANT HIGH School coach Robert Weiner’s success in transforming the Panthers from a local doormat into a national contender may
have come when he resigned in January. It was
then that the realization dawned on the Tampa
Bay’s football community: Is he replaceable?
Well, most agreed, the search would have to
be national. The task would be monumental.
And the odds for success, for truly replacing
Tampa Bay’s most successful high school football coach? They were pretty slim.
But lucky for Plant, the only guy able to fill Weiner’s shoes was sitting in an office at the University
of South Florida the day after the coach resigned,
thinking about all of the things he was missing
about his old job: the classroom, the kids; heck,
just being a high school football coach.
So Robert Weiner, USF’s new wide receivers coach, resigned to return to being Robert
Weiner, Plant football coach.
“Taking that job might be
something 100 out of 100
coaches would love to do,” Weiner said. “But, I realized, not me.
I’m a high school football coach.”
When Weiner, a longtime Tampa Jesuit assistant, was hired
by Plant in 2004, no one had
any idea he would turn around
a flailing program so quickly and
triumphantly. He started with 35
kids. Now he has 180.
Plant won a state title in 2006,
Weiner’s third season. He then
claimed championships in 2008,
2010 and 2011 while coaching
players like NFL tight end Orson
Charles and FSU running back
James Wilder Jr.
He practically introduced 7-on-
7 football to Tampa Bay, developing quarterbacks like Purdue’s
Robert Marve, 2013 Heisman
Trophy candidate Aaron Murray,
Alabama quarterback Phillip Ely
and Cornell’s James Few along
the way. He took a program that
couldn’t compete locally and
made it nationally known, going
99-12 in his nine seasons.
“There wasn’t anybody that
could replace him,” Few said.
Well, except Weiner himself.
– John Cotey
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