Jake Coulson poses with his coaching staff at the team banquet. (Photo courtesy of Jane Owen.)

Bloomingdale High School football head coach Jake Coulson has accepted a job at the same position to coach Lecanto High School starting next season. Coulson leaves Bloomingdale as the all-time win leader with a 29-16 overall record. He will always have a special place in his heart for the place he called home for the last five years. His motto at Bloomingdale was “TPW” (Tough People Win).

“The school itself just has a special vibe,” he said. “The Friday night games at Bloomingdale are pretty electric with the band and the community support. It was probably one of the better atmospheres in Hillsborough County.”

In 2019, he was promoted to head coach at Bloomingdale after a strong season as defensive coordinator. In his second season as head coach, he led the Bulls to a record-setting 12-0 season before losing to a dominant St. Thomas Aquinas program in the team’s first-ever state semifinal appearance.

The head coach, who is originally from small-town Texas, feels comfortable moving to an area that is similar to home and has a great Future Farmers of America (FFA) program in rural Citrus County. Coulson also wanted his son, who is now in sixth grade, to be able to play junior high tackle football and grow up in an environment similar to the one he did as a kid; tackle football isn’t offered in Hillsborough County at the middle school level. He and his wife, Justeen, also accepted teaching jobs at Lecanto High School.

“I felt like it was the right time for me, and then also felt like it was something that I needed to do for my family,” he said.

Coulson is most proud that during his time at Bloomingdale the program had over 30 kids move on to play at the college level. They also renovated the entire locker room and weight room. He will always be grateful to the administration, parents and especially the players. He said that the hardest part of this process has been telling the players that he’s leaving. 

“The thing I will miss most about playing for coach Coulson is the teamwork he instilled in us,” said senior tight end/long snapper Charlie O’Brien. “He took a bunch of kids that you normally wouldn’t think would hang out together and brought us together to form a brotherhood.”

The Panthers’ new head man is excited to build a rapport with his administration, coaches and players. He wants to build off of the team’s 8-4 season that ended in a trip to the playoffs. It’s a goal of his to help improve football in Citrus County.

Coulson said he appreciates former Bloomingdale Principal Sue Burkett, who gave him his first head coaching job; former Bloomingdale head coach Max Warner; current Principal Marcos Rodriguez; his former athletic directors, Nate Francis and Sara Bouge; coach Hutch; and all the coaches, parents and players.

“People think that football is just a one-man show, but it takes an army,” he said. “There are a lot of people who helped me, and I’m thankful for that. I also want to thank my family, my wife, son and daughter. It takes a big commitment from them to pick up and move. They have always been supportive of my job and me stepping into this new role.”

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Nick Nahas
Nick Nahas has written for the Osprey Observer since 2016. He has lived in the Valrico area since 2002 and has his bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He is dedicated to covering sports in Hillsborough County at every level.