15-year coach took the head football coaching position in March
Jamaal Sanders recently ran into one of his former girls basketball players.
“She graduated about 10 years ago and was pregnant, and we talked about that and how life was going,” Sanders said. “Knowing you can come back to something like that and reflect on some of the stuff that we used to do. That’s the most rewarding thing. At least it lets me know I touched one.”
Six weeks after accepting the head football coaching position at Bayshore High, Sanders announced he was stepping down as the Bruins head girls basketball coach.
“Yeah, I’m done with girls basketball,” Sanders said. “I had to give it up to take my dream job. It stinks but, hopefully they understand and it pays off in the long run.”
Sanders coached the Bruins for 15 seasons. In 2017, Bayshore reached the Class 6A regional semifinals losing to St. Petersburg Lakewood. The Bruins also won three straight Smoothie King titles from 2013-15 during the Christmas break at Bradenton Christian School.
“It isn’t about the wins and losses, it’s just about the relationships you build with the student athletes,” Sanders said. “As they go on in life, you can go on and have a conversation with them.”
The decision was not an easy one for Sanders. But the way the winter sports season overlaps with the fall in Florida, it would have been difficult to do both jobs.
“Absolutely. I put 15 years of my life into it,” he said. “Having to walk away from that is tough because you create so many memories and you build relationships with the students.”
“I kind of expected him not to (coach both teams),” Bruins director of athletics Chris Brady said. “I asked him again last week, because we were getting to the point where the principal is looking at open positions for teaching. So our principal can look at matching up a possible candidate with a teaching position.”
Bayshore recently posted the job on the classified section of the FHSAA Web site.