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Titans Sports

TBT's Culpepper Named Coach Of The Year

Posted Thursday, December 11, 2008 by KATHERINE SMITH
People warned C.C. Culpepper about Tampa Bay Tech.

It was a losing football program, so what was he thinking when he took over as the head coach two seasons ago.

"I heard people say you'd never win there," Culpepper said. "I thank God for giving me this job, the job nobody wanted."

For guiding the Titans to a 10-2 record and its first playoff victory in school history, Culpepper was honored on Thursday as the 2008 Billy Turner Coach of the Year at the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame's 40th annual High School Coaches Award luncheon.

As coaches from the other Hillsborough County schools sat in front of him, Culpepper thanked his players, his assistant coaches and his wife for their support. His voice cracked as he stared in disbelief at the award he had won.

"I really didn't think I was going to win because of the head coaches sitting in front of me," Culpepper said.

Wharton coach David Mitchell set the emotional tone for the ceremonies when he posthumously honored his former defensive coordinator Earl Goodman with the Roland Acosta Assistant Coach of the Year award. Goodman passed away on Nov. 8, a day after Wharton defeated Gaither for the 5A-5 title.

Wearing an "EG" pin on his lapel, Mitchell choked up as he talked about Goodman's impact on the Wildcats team.

"He was the Johnny Cochran of our team," Mitchell said. "If there was a player in trouble, he'd plead the young man's case."

Many members of Goodman's family were at the ceremony and received a standing ovation when they were introduced.

"He loved X's and O's, but he loved the kids more," Mitchell said. "This man will never be forgotten. I can not replace Earl Goodman. He'll be sadly missed."

Other award recipients were Tampa Catholic, who took home the West Coast Officials Association Sportsmanship Award and Robinson, who was honored with the WCOA Hospitality Award. Jane Melton of Chick-fil-A and former Bucs and Gators standout Scot Brantley were presented special awards for their commitment to the community.

Clem Brooks of the West Coast Officials Association announced that he is retiring this year after 42 years of service.

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