Chuck Gannon would just as soon you didn’t read this.
Gannon, the longtime coach at Port St. Joe High School, hopes you don’t care about his selection last weekend into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He certainly doesn’t want to bring any attention to the announcement, a surprise that came during a coaching clinic.
There are others who deserve, maybe even want, the attention far more than Gannon, whose application to the Hall of Fame had to be maintained as a something resembling state secret due to the coach’s reticence to bring any glimmer of attention his way and the potential he would scuttle his own nomination.
Gannon will be formally inducted into the FACA Hall of Fame in January.
“It’s a great honor to be there, but really there are a lot of great coaches who are deserving of that honor who are not in there yet,” Gannon said. “Just to be nominated is such an honor.
“But it really goes back to the assistant coaches and the kids you have worked with. They are the reason.”
Which is, as most who know Gannon would pledge, the expected answer for a coach who deflects the attention to those he believes deserve it – and that is pretty much anybody but himself. the expected answer for a ....
Gannon has forged that philosophy over more than three decades in coaching, beginning with Crystal River High School in 1982.
Gannon coached football, basketball and baseball primarily, at Dunnellon, Trenton, Citrus, Leesburg and Brooksville Central before arriving in Port St. Joe in 1994.
The accolades have flowed along the way.
He coached, as assistant or head coach, 13 different teams that reached the state playoffs.
He has earned nominating points as the FACA/Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year in baseball and basketball and was honored in 2005 as the FACA Assistant Coach of the Year for his work with the Port St. Joe High School defense on the Tiger Sharks’ path to a state title in football.
Gannon has served as athletic director at the school while it won several state sportsmanship awards and had a rather unusual three-peat with the Tiger Sharks.
In the one year he spent as the head varsity boys’ basketball coach – after assisting Coach Vern Eppinette during several championship seasons – the Tiger Sharks reached the state final four.
He took the Tiger Shark baseball team to the final four in 2002 and was the defensive coordinator for the football team that won a state title and returned the following year to the final four.
Therefore, Gannon has coached teams in three different sports, the three major sports on the calendar, to the state final four.
“It starts with discipline,” said Tracy Browning who has worked alongside Gannon on the sidelines for a decade. “He is very disciplined and the kids really buy in to what he wants to do.
“You know you are going to win and that starts with discipline and commitment.”
In the latest chapter in his career, Gannon took over a Tiger Shark football program that had stumbled through two losing seasons and had Port St. Joe back in district and playoff contention his first year.
Last season, Gannon’s last as a paid coach before his retirement, the Tiger Sharks reached the second round of the playoffs.
With Coach John Palmer – another FACA Hall of Famer as is Eppinette – back leading the Port St. Joe program, Gannon will continue as defensive coordinator on a volunteer basis.
If you’ve reached this far in this story, and Gannon would prefer you didn’t make it this far, Gannon will explain what this coaching business is about, because, he said, it isn’t about the money or the titles or the attention.
Echoing words spoken by a Florida State University football coach last weekend, Gannon put his 30-plus years in perspective.
“If you can shape one person or help any kid along the way to find the right path, that is why you get into coaching,” Gannon said. “If you just help one kid, that is why you do it.”