For decades, Bradenton Manatee High’s football program has been regarded as one of the best in the state, maybe even the country. And now it will be led by an up-and-coming coach from Bloomingdale.
John Booth accepted the Manatee head coaching position Tuesday, just three days after interviewing with the school’s administration.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Booth, a Manatee graduate who went 16-35 during his five seasons at Bloomingdale.
The Bulls went 6-4 last season. Though Bloomingdale was his first head coaching job, Booth coached collegiately for two seasons at Mid America Nazarene, an NAIA program, serving as a wide receivers coach, junior varsity offensive coordinator and weightlifting coach. He also played quarterback for the Pioneers and was named an NAIA All-American and his conference’s Offensive Player of the Year.
After college, Booth had stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Europe and the Arena Football’s Kansas City Brigade.
Booth replaces longtime Manatee coach Joe Kinnan, who led the program to five state championships, its most recent in 2011. Under Kinnan, the Hurricanes reached the state championship game seven times.
Booth understands the pressure and expectations to win will be intensified at Manatee.
“What’s not going to change is the standard I hold to myself,” Booth said. “Our standards are still going to be high. The expectation and desire to win is all the same.”
Other than hiring his brother James, an assistant coach on his staff at Bloomingdale, Booth said he plans to retain Kinnan’s entire staff. He plans to meet with his new staff and players today.
“We came down from Bloomingdale to throw (7-on-7) with them every summer, so I’m familiar with the athletes they have,” Booth said.
Bloomingdale athletic director Donald Peek said the school’s administration is accepting resumes and will start the interview process following the July 4 weekend.
While excited about his new coaching job, Booth said it was bittersweet “leaving behind a great school, community and program.”
“The last couple of days have been a roller coaster of emotion,” Booth said.
Berkeley Prep senior quarterback Brad Mayes verbally committed to Lehigh. A three-star prospect, Mayes threw for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and also rushed for five touchdowns.