Football: Louis Murphy Jr. steps down as coach at Gibbs — Jan. 17

Louis Murphy Jr. announced via Twitter that he was stepping down as coach at Gibbs after three seasons. 

Two years ago, Murphy Jr.  led the Gladiators to their first winning season since 2015 and their playoff win since 2004.

But Murphy Jr. was unable to maintain that momentum this year. He was initially suspended for six games by the Florida High School Athletic Association for violations that stemmed from two Boca Ciega players who were at offseason workouts with Gibbs but never enrolled at the school.

That suspension was eventually reduced to four games following an appeal. 

The Gladiators started 0-8 before winning their final two games against rivals Boca Ciega and St. Petersburg. 

This was Murphy Jr.’s first head coaching job. He worked as an assistant in 2019 at West Orange before being hired to replace Ja’Vonta Trotter at Gibbs.

Murphy Jr., a former standout at Lakewood, became one of the Florida Gators’ top receiving threats on the 2006 and 2008 title teams. He was taken in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders in 2009 and played nine seasons in the NFL with five teams, including the Buccaneers from 2014-16.

For years, Murphy spent the bulk of his time with his youth football nonprofit, 1st Downs 4 Life, which he started in 2008. What started out as an annual summer camp turned into a series of empowerment and leadership events and initiatives.

That work helped him connect with the community, which helped him stand out among the candidates when he applied to take over the Gladiators.