Northeast’s Jeremy Frioud announced this will be his final season as football coach. He turned in his resignation letter this week and has already informed the players of his decision.
Frioud currently is 32-34 in seven seasons. The Vikings face Countryside in a play-in postseason game on Friday, which could be Frioud’s finale with the program if they lose.
“I love Northeast,” Frioud said. “I love the kids and administration. I even love the parents. I’ve just been through way, way, way too much to heal.”
Since taking over the Vikings in 2014, Frioud has gone through multiple tragedies with players.
Six years ago, defensive lineman Leshawn Williams, then 17, sustained a knee injury that required his leg to eventually be amputated. In August of 2018, Ruben Marcano, a 14-year-old freshman on the junior varsity team, died in an accident while at home.
But nothing compared to the pain Frioud endured last season.
In September of 2019, Northeast running back Jacquez Welch collapsed during a game. Doctors at Bayfront Health discovered Welch had the rare arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels and arteries that can cause bleeding on the brain if ruptured.
Days later, Welch was taken off life support and his organs were donated.
Frioud was on the field, holding Welch in his arms after he collapsed. Frioud was there in the hospital, ushering in players to say their goodbyes to a beloved teammate.
Within days, Frioud got a tattoo to honor Welch.
The team had little time to mourn.
After all, the Vikings were still trying to cope with the death of former teammate Marquis Scott, who was shot while riding his bike three days before Welch tragically fell on the field.
“I’ve had two die in a week, three in a year,” Frioud said last year. “I’m not a woe-is-me guy. And there’s billions of people that’s got it worse. I do this job for free. But this is what a football coach does. He leads high school boys to what they’ve got to get through.
“Sometimes you get thrown a curveball like this and it makes it impossible to do your job and to coach football. Now all you’re trying to do is get these kids to class, make sure their grades don’t fall off. The hard part is not tucking your tail and running when things get awful. Not blown out in games awful. People are dead awful. Tragic stuff that people have no idea about.”
Frioud said he plans to get a job closer to his home in Clearwater so he can spend more time with his wife (former Olympian Brooke Bennett) and their two sons.
“I need to be closer to my boys,” Frioud said. “I want to spend every second with my beautiful family.”