Lake Buena Vista football assistant named next head coach at Celebration High

After serving as defensive coordinator since the inception of the Vipers’ football program, Jed Ebersole has been tapped as the next Celebration head coach

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Lake Buena Vista High defensive coordinator Jed Ebersole has been named the next head football coach of Celebration High. Ebersole spent the last three seasons helping build a young Vipers program as an assistant. 

He helped LBV go from 1-19 in its first two seasons to a winning record last season. Now, the longtime assistant coach will have the chance to build a football program in his image for the first time as a head coach.

“It means everything,” Ebersole said of the opportunity. “Seriously, I’ve gone through a lot of programs now and I’ve seen programs that are run well; I’ve seen programs that are run horribly. I’m just glad to be in a position where I can influence a bunch of kids and my coaching staff into doing the right thing and getting these kids on the right path. Obviously, we want to go to playoffs and win a bunch of championships,” he said. “But it’s just going to be nice to know that at least one program is going to be running in the right direction.”

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To Ebersole, his program’s North Star is clear: Do right by the kids, the program and the community. From his perspective, if his program does that, the wins will follow.

“It sounds simple, and it’s probably not the cleanest thing off the tongue, but that’s what we want to do — the right thing,” he said. “The right thing for the program, right things for the kids, do right for the coaches, do right for the school, and that’s what we’re doing. … That includes making sure we’re improving every day — whether it’s a small improvement or a big improvement. … It’s just about building a program that this community is proud of. From there, everything starts to take care of itself, the wins will come, the support will come, our kids will go to play college ball, and we’ll be in the right place.”

Ebersole’s mindset is the product of years of coaching experience, and his most recent stop at Lake Buena Vista is a perfect example of how he has leaned on that experience to develop the game plan he’s taking to Celebration. 

“When I look back at my time at LBV, it was like two different experiences,” he said. “At first … the experience really cemented the idea that it works to just get coaches around you that you trust and let them do their jobs. Let them embrace the kids and let them do what they’re supposed to do.

“What this past year taught me and our players was more about patience — dealing with change and adversity,” Ebersole said. “We got the chance to learn how to deal with different things that came our way that we weren’t expecting. We learned how we were going to deal with things that happened that we didn’t like. … Ultimately, it was two different experiences, but two that I learned a lot from.”

Throughout his career, Ebersole has coached nearly every position, and that experience should serve him well in his new post.

“Through and through, I’m a defensive guy, but through my past, I’ve literally coached every position except quarterbacks, and I’ve also been an offensive coordinator for a little bit, so I kind of see all aspects of the game,” he said. 

Because of that perspective, Ebersole has a lot of different tools in his belt to help the Storm improve as a team, and he will use whatever strategy necessary to help Celebration win ball games — even special teams. 

“I love defense, and I’m never going to hide that,” Ebersole said. “But what a lot of people don’t know is my attention to special teams. I think that is going to be big for us and is going to help this year. This is a team that’s been 1-19 over the past two years, so we’re going to have to find those advantages somewhere, and I think special teams might be that place. You don’t hear a lot of head coaches saying they love special teams, but I’m a big fan of paying attention to and watching a lot of film on the opposing team’s special teams and finding those little spots where you can gain an advantage from,” he said. 

“It could be as simple as spots on punts or on kickoffs. It could be the way we could draw up different punt blocks and different returns. … I think that’ll help keep us competitive in some games that some people might not expect us to be as competitive in.” 

Although the third phase of the game will be a focus for Ebersole, keep a lookout for a few tricks the first-year head coach has up his sleeves. 

“We have nothing to lose this year, right?” he said. “So, we’re going to be aggressive; we’re going to go for it. There are going to be times when it’s 4th-and-7, and people are going to think we’re going to punt, and I’m going to say, ‘You know what? We’ve worked on this play all week. We knew it was a 4th-and-7 play. Let’s give it a shot.' Right now, literally, my directive is to show improvement,” he said. “So, we have to take some shots to do that. That’s what’s going to catch some people off-guard. But hopefully, they’ll fall in love with that approach when we hit a few of them and give folks a nice surprise.”

Ebersole wants Celebration’s past to stay exactly there — in the past. 

“We’re not going to be looking back; we’re looking forward,” he said. “Everything we’re doing today is about building for next year and the year after and the year after that. I’m not one of these guys (who is) going to be looking for that next cool job. … I’m looking for a place where I can build and sustain a program. I’m the kind of old-school coach who wants to be somewhere for 20 years.” 



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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