Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ferreira's Legacy: He Always Gave It His Best Effort

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ferreira's Legacy: He Always Gave It His Best Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhonda Reese

Paul Ferreira spent the past two years helping a Tennessee neighbor shepherd his flock of sheep.

Prior to his retirement and relocation to a mountain home in the Volunteer State, Coach Ferreira shepherded thousands of kids, mentored dozens of coaches, trained hundreds of teachers and made more friends than anyone could count during his career as a teacher, coach and athletic director in Duval County.

Ferreira, for whom Mandarin Middle's football field is named, was known throughout the county for the meticulous care he provided for the school's pristine green football and baseball fields as well as the Hawks' spic-and-span gym.

Friends, students and co-workers were saddened to learn Ferreira lost his third battle with cancer in mid-March. According to those who knew him best, Ferreira kept his reputation as a compassionate perfectionist to the end of his life.

"Paul would let you know how disappointed he was if you didn't do everything top-notch," said coach Mike Kraatz, who served with Ferreira during his 14 years as athletic director at Mandarin Middle. "He felt like giving less than the best was letting the kids down."

In addition to wanting the best for the middle-schoolers, Ferreira had a great love for the children in Mandarin Middle's Preschool Hawks Nest class, students in the school's ESE program, the hundreds of kids in his physical education classes and those involved in the school's sports teams.

Barbara Atkins, who has served as the principal's secretary since Mandarin Middle opened, recalled how Ferreira put in 12- and 14-hour days keeping the school's athletic facility in top shape.

"I remember how excited he was about getting equipment to set our program up. He was often at school till midnight making sure everything worked correctly."

Co-workers said that until the day he and his wife, Judy, retired and headed for Tennessee's hills, Ferreira went about spreading excellence. …

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