Bay confirms football for 2019, set to begin coaching search

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Administrators and students at Bay High School are hoping to have more comfortable 2019 than 2018.

Campus reopens for school on January 22. That milestone gets the ball rolling on some other things, like the search for the next head football coach.

The school decided not to renew Mike Watkins' contract after three seasons and a 10-16 record, but they have not advertised the opening yet.

First things first. Contrary to rumors or speculation, football will return to Bay this spring and fall.

"I want to make sure that the alumni of Bay High School and the community understands that we do plan to have football this season," athletic director Michael Grady said. "There will be no process by which we don't. In the spring, we will continue and be ready for the jamboree. We will, again, get a qualified coach and he is going to be the right person and he is going to be the right person to lead Bay High School."

Given the post-hurricane circumstances in Panama City, finding a coach and coaching in this environment may both be difficult tasks. Regardless, the school will plow ahead with the search once administrators are settled in next Tuesday and things are closer to normal.

Although the search has not officially begun, Grady already has an idea of what the ideal candidate brings to the table.

"Right now, just like the community is rebuilding, the person that we hire is going to be a person that will build our program from the top and have good rapport with the community and get everybody involved. We want to keep all our students that were zoned Bay High School."

The Tornadoes finished 1-5 last season, canceling the final four games in the wake of the Michael.