HIGH SCHOOL NOTEBOOK; Fleming Island Coach to Step Down

Article excerpt

Byline: HAYS CARLYON

Neal Chipoletti is leaving the Fleming Island football program he built from scratch.

Following an 8-2 season, Chipoletti has decided to resign as coach. In six seasons, Chipoletti led the Golden Eagles to a 29-34 record. He served as Orange Park's defensive coordinator before taking the Fleming Island job, and he was Forrest's boys basketball coach for 17 years (1980-96).

"I'm giving it up," Chipoletti said. "The original plan was for me to coach five or six years and get the program on solid ground. It was a lot of fun building the program from the ground up. I'm indebted to all the people that chipped in to help and all the players that have played for us."

Chipoletti, who played at Georgia from 1973-74, guided Fleming Island to the Region 1-5A final in 2007. The Golden Eagles should have a talented team returning next season, led by offensive tackle Ian Silberman, a Florida commitment.

"Neal was a good guy and the right guy to start this program," Fleming Island principal Sam Ward said. "I wish he wanted to stay a little longer.

"There weren't a lot of coaches knocking the door down to coach our team when we started. Now, because of Neal's vision and abilities, there will be a lot of coaches wanting to reap what he's sowed. We're hoping to have a coach named shortly after we return from Christmas break."

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