Clearwater football coach Don Mesick steps down

Clearwater’s Don Mesick, one of the most successful football coaches in school history, has stepped down from the program after six seasons. He officially made the announcement during a meeting with the players Thursday afternoon. 

Mesick was 45-21 during his tenure with the Tornadoes and guided the program to playoff appearances in each of his six seasons, the longest postseason streak ever at the school.

Part of the reason Mesick is leaving is because he wanted more support.

“I have a really good staff, but the community, parents and administration were not supportive,” Mesick said. “Six playoff appearances in six years and three district titles and still can’t get support.

“I did my part. I needed a change of scenery.” 

Before Mesick was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach in 2015, Clearwater had gone through four straight losing seasons, including 0-10 in 2013 and were mired in a 13-game losing streak that ended September of 2014. 

He turned things around by sticking with a wide-open offense that honed its skills in 7-on-7 tournaments in the summer. Two of Mesick’s former quarterbacks, Austin Day (Marist) and Rent Montie (Lafayette), are currently playing in college. Another former signal caller, Garrison Bryant, is one of the top pitching prospects in the New York Mets’ minor league system. 

The rebuilding job did not end with the product on the field. Mesick was instrumental in getting new lockers and office space, as well as replacing the concession stand. 

But it was not enough.

“It takes more than quality coaches to build a championship program,” Mesick said. “It’s no coincidence that Pinellas County has never won a state title.”