Central’s Sands steps down as head football coach

Photography by Cheryl Clanton

(BROOKSVILLE)- If there’s one thing opposing teams could prepare for when facing off against a Central team coached by Chris Sands, it was opponents would have to be ready to defend against the ground game and an inspired bunch of kids. 

Heading into this spring ball, however, Central will have a different voice giving out speeches and calling out plays, as Sands announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that he will be stepping down as the school’s coach and accepting the same position at Eau High School, which is located in Melbourne, FL. 

Sands’ statement online read: ‘It is with a heavy heart to let you know that I’m resigning as head football coach at Central High School to take the same position at Eau High School in Melbourne, Florida. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the CHS administration especially Ms. Slusser and coach Sorrentino for giving me my first opportunity as a head football coach. Thank you to my amazing assistant coaches and players for their tireless effort during my tenure at Central. My family and I will always be Bears. We look forward to a new chapter of our lives as we make our home in Melbourne. Thank you.’ 

Central facing Nature Coast this past 2017 season

It was a tough 2017 campaign for Central record wise, as the Bears went 2-7 during the season and had a tough time after the graduation of running back De’Vonta Smith, who rushed for 2,913 yards in 2016. During the record season for Smith, Central enjoyed one of its best seasons to recent memory and went 6-4. Losing Smith hurt the Bears’ rushing attack and Central’s only wins this season came up against Tavares and Lecanto, respectively. 

Sands went 13-26 during his time as head coach at Central. Hired in 2014 to replace Mike Einspahr, who went 1-9 in 2013, Sands’ teams steadily picked up wins each season he was the head coach. In 2014 the Bears went 2-8, but 3-7 the following season before making the three win improvement last year. 

The school will now be in search of its third head coach in the last five years and there’s no shortage of notable names in the area who may want the job. Many names that come to mind with head coaching experience is former Hudson and current Nature Coast defensive coordinator Charles Liggett, along with Ridgewood coach Jay Fulmer. Ridgewood High School is closing down after the 2017-2018 school year, which leaves Fulmer available as a candidate. 


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