Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Coach Ready to Rebuild Suwannee

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Coach Ready to Rebuild Suwannee

Article excerpt

Paul Landry first met Mike Pittman at a high school football

coaches meeting in 1985. Landry was the head coach at Pensacola

Catholic and had previously gone through some lean years as an

assistant at Live Oak Suwannee in the early 1980s.

Pittman was this personable, tobacco-chewing new guy who came to

Suwannee a year before and immediately turned around the program.

"We just struck some common ground because I had been here

earlier and we didn't have a winning year," Landry said. "He

came in his first year and went 7-3. So I said to him, `You went

7-3 at Live Oak, I know you can coach.' That hit it off."

When Landry returned to Live Oak two years later, Pittman had

already proven to be a bonafide winner. By the time Landry

returned to Suwannee as an assistant coach -- after a short

stint as the Crescent City head coach -- Pittman was a legend.

Now Landry, 45, must replace that legend.

Pittman resigned from Suwannee shortly after leading the

Bulldogs to a 10-2 record last year. Along with Pittman left

Parade All-American quarterback Willie Gardner and Allstate

defensive lineman Thaddeus Bullard. Only three starters return.

"You can't replace a legend, all you can do is go in and do

your job the best way you know how and whatever happens,

happens," said Landry. "We have good young players coming up but

obviously no one on the level of a Parade All-American.

"I knew it would be a tough job, it always has been, but I also

knew we had good kids to work with. …

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