By Kyle LoJacono
Todd Donohoe was named Freedom High’s sixth football coach since the 2006 season on Feb. 20, according to Patriots athletic director Elijah Thomas.
“His organizational skills and his competitive nature were some of the things that separated him from the other 20 candidates,” Thomas said. “We’re happy to have Todd. We want him to be here for 20 years leading the football program. He wants to do right by the kids.”
It is the third coaching stint for Donohoe, who was already on Freedom’s staff as a physical education teacher. He resigned from Strawberry Crest before the 2011 season amid pressure from school administration. The year away gave him time to recharge.
“Coaching is in my blood,” Donohoe said. “When I left Crest I knew I wanted to coach again somehow and somewhere.”
Donohoe coached at his alma mater Dunedin from 1996-98, compiling a 7-23 record. He started the program at Strawberry Crest, going 6-10 in varsity contests from 2009-10. Freedom’s new leader also spent four years as an Armwood assistant.
Donohoe replaces Tchecoy Blount, who coached the Patriots to a 6-14 record during his two seasons at the helm.
“I applied for a couple places, but when the job opened at Freedom it was the perfect opportunity,” Donohoe said. “I’m really excited to take this program into the future and make it into the winning program it should be. This is where I want to be.”
Freedom has made the playoffs only twice since the school opened in 2002. Both postseason appearances were as a district runner-up in 2006 and 2009, and both times the Patriots were knocked out in the first round.
Thomas said part of the reason the football program has failed to win consistently is the revolving door of coaches and predicts Donohoe is the person to put a stop to that constant changing of the guard.
“I absolutely believe he’s the right person for the job,” Thomas said. “He wants to be here for the long haul and we want him to be here for a long time too. We’re all looking forward to the spring and fall football seasons.”
Donohoe is also the Patriots’ boys track and field coach. He said he will remain that program’s leader for at least this season and possibly into the future.
“We’ve got a lot of good runners and field athletes coming back and I think we’ll be able to compete at a high level this year,” Donohoe said. “I didn’t want their season to be hurt by me becoming the football coach.”