On the eve of what looks to be a strong basketball season for the Franklin County Seahawks, coach Mike Sweatt has returned to his former coaching position at Wakulla County High School.
Former Apalachicola Shark standout Mackenzie Williams, now a phys ed teacher at the ABC School, is being touted as his successor.
Sweatt, who built the program steadily since arriving here three years ago, said he made the decision with mixed feelings to return to his high school alma mater, Class of 2001. The father of two young boys, Sweatt underwent a divorce this year and said being closer to his parents and his hometown, with a leaner teaching schedule, will afford him more time to spend with his young family.
After coaching at Wakulla for three years, Sweatt left in 2011 to come to Franklin County and steadily grew the program at both the middle and high school levels, including expanding the summer hoops program (see related story).
“It’s all about the off-season when you’re building. You got to start from the base up,” said Sweatt.
Wakulla Principal Mike Barwick said Monday that he knew Sweatt’s work from his years at Wakulla, which began with the middle school program and led to three successful years as varsity coach.
“I was extremely impressed by Mike and his ability to run a program,” said Barwick. “He’s a local kid who grew up with the high school here and it’s good having him back.
“He’s a quality coach. It’s fortunate for us,” he said.
Sweatt’s departure leaves a void at both the hoop coach position as well as at athletic director. Franklin County High School Principal Kris Bray said the district is in the process of advertising for these and other supplemental contracts, and expects to fill them by month’s end.
Topping the list of Sweatt’s advice to the district is to hire Mackenzie Williams, the physical education teacher at the ABC School. A standout player on former Sharks coach Joe Hayes’ 2007 squad, as well as the Boys and Girls Clubs Big Bend Youth of the Year, Williams recently earned his bachelor’s degree, and teaches phys ed at ABC, as well as serving as a coaching assistant to Sweatt’s junior varsity team last year.
“The best thing to do for basketball is to get Mackenzie Williams,” said Sweatt. “I think he’s’ respected. He’ll be good.”
Bray said she has heard positive things about the young man. “Mackenzie has definitely shown his interest and the community has shown interest in Mackenzie being the new coach,” she said. “He has come and talked to me about his interest.”
ABC Principal Chimene Johnson said that similar to last year, the school would work with accommodating Williams’ coaching schedule at the high school if he is named head coach.