By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports writer
BROOKSVILLE- High school sports is just getting the green light to schedule summer workouts throughout the Tampa Bay area, but one head coach won’t be making his return to the sidelines this fall.
Rob Kazmier announced Tuesday, June 2nd, night that he would be stepping down as head football coach at Hernando High School. Kazmier was the Leopards’ head coach for two seasons and led Hernando to the playoffs in 2018. Now the Leopards will be searching for their third head coach in four years and will have to look quickly as summer workouts are fast approaching.
The local and national headlines are dominated with news on the current pandemic of coronavirus and the protests going on around the country in response to George Floyd’s death at the hands of Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department. Kazmier stated that the new challenges of being a father, he had to make the difficult decision to step down as Hernando’s head coach. Below is his message he wrote in regards to stepping down.
“I regret to inform everyone that I have made the difficult decision to step down from my position as Head Football Coach at Hernando High School. This decision was made solely with the best interests of my family in mind. Carrie and I were blessed with the most amazing baby girl almost six months ago. Kennedy has completely changed our world and made our lives better than we could have ever imagined.
During the last few months, I have had a lot of time for reflection. I have also had some enlightening conversations with some of my valued mentors. I ensure you that I have thought this through carefully, and I am certain that this is the right decision for everyone involved. As we grow, mature, and reach different milestones in life, our priorities must change. My priority is to be the greatest father possible for Kennedy. Both Kennedy and Carrie deserve as much of my time as possible and they deserve the best version of me every single day. Time is our most precious resource, and as the number of football related activities continue to grow every year, it requires more and more of our time. I take everything about football very seriously. As Carrie can confirm, it consumes me. She was pregnant with Kennedy during this past season. I simply want to be the best and it drives me to be all-in at all times. This is why my decision became necessary.
Being a parent is the greatest responsibility someone will have in their lifetime. Our children must be our ultimate priority. I want everyone to realize that the positive changes our country needs begin in our homes. We have to help our children develop values and teach them to communicate in a healthy and productive manner. Teach them to listen to understand and be empathetic towards others. We need to start sitting at the dinner table and discussing real issues with them. Take walks. Go on bicycle rides. Constantly tell your children how much you love them. Ask them questions. Know who they are hanging out with. Know what they are doing on social media. Keep them in the house when the sun goes down. We must develop our children for the better. We desperately need true leaders that genuinely care for others.
Therefore, we must model that behavior for them every single day. We must weed out the greed and entitlement that constantly fuel conflict and hate in this turbulent world. I am far from perfect, but I can most certainly strive to be a perfect father. In my mind, I have no other choice.
After twenty-six years of either playing or coaching, I have given a great part of my life to the game of football, but it has given me so much more in return. I am at peace with this decision and I hope everyone understands. I look forward to continuing teaching and being around our amazing Leopards every day. I bleed Purple and Gold and I love this Brooksville community. My successor will have my full support and our students will always have me by their side during the school day. When you need help with academics and recruiting, I will be there. I love my Leopard family. Being the Head Football Coach at Hernando High School has been an amazing opportunity, but being Daddy is priceless. Thank you ??” – Rob Kazmier
Kazmier joined the Leopards after stints at Nature Coast and Weeki Wachee as an assistant coach. As Hernando’s head coach, he was able to take the Leopards back to the postseason in 2018, bowing out in the regional quarterfinal round. In 2019, there was a little bit of a rebuild for Hernando but a few bounces here and there could’ve easily seen the Leopards right back in the playoff picture. Hernando finished 5-5 in 2019.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.