Ocoee football continues search, names Aaron Jones interim head coach

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  • | 8:16 a.m. February 12, 2015
Ocoee football continues search, names Aaron Jones interim head coach
Ocoee football continues search, names Aaron Jones interim head coach
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The search for a new head coach for the football program at Ocoee High School is still ongoing, but the Knights do have a head man for the interim to steer the program through spring practice, if needed.

Aaron Jones, the head coach for the boys track team who also served as the defensive line coach for the Knights during the 2014 football season, has been named interim head coach by Ocoee Athletic Director Steve McHale.

Jones is aware of the temporary status of his position, McHale said, as the program continues its search for a replacement for Dale Salapa, who departed after three seasons at the helm. McHale said Monday that Jones is a talented, up-and-coming coach and expressed confidence in his abilities to lead the Knights through this transition.

“He’s going to be good — he’s going to be very good,” McHale said of Jones’ coaching potential.

The opening at Ocoee has been the cause of speculation over the past few weeks as reports have surfaced in local media about potential hires. 

Longtime area coach Chip Gierke, who left Evans in 2013, and former Seminole coach Mike Cullison have both been linked to the Knights’ opening.

On Monday, McHale acknowledged Cullison had been interviewed by the school but said the candidate’s application was not cleared by Orange County Public Schools and that, unless that changes, he is out of the running.

Gierke cannot take a job until June 1, because he entered Florida’s Deferred Retirement Option Program. 

There is mutual interest between Ocoee and Gierke, but the veteran coach is also rumored to be considering opportunities in Georgia — where the pay for coaches is substantially higher.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for Chip Gierke,” McHale said, acknowledging the Knights’ interest in hiring the veteran coach once he is cleared to take a job on June 1. “He could really help Ocoee in a lot of ways.”

In the meantime, the Knights are continuing to explore opportunities and have candidates they will be interviewing throughout this week and perhaps into next week.

Ocoee went 2-8 in 2014 and was 7-23, combined, in Salapa’s three years at the helm.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


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