Two seasons into his second term as head football coach at North Fort Myers High, Brian Makar is stepping down. He compiled a 3-17 record this time around, including 3-7 this season.
Makar will stay on at the school as a math teacher when a new coach takes over the program, the 12th in school history, for spring practice, according to North High principal Dale Houchin.
"I have nothing but admiration and respect for coach Makar," said athletic director Kathy Padilla. "He has been tremendous for the school and the program over the last two years. It was good to have him back. The kids showed learning, which does not sound like much (3-17 record), but we can only go up."
Makar will continue his coaching duties through the John Carrigan Rotary South All-Star Game next month as well as oversee current college recruiting and the team banquet.
"Then it's on to the next chapter for me and the Makar family," he said.
Makar praised the players over the last two seasons for their ability to "adapt, improvise and overcome obstacles they themselves did not create."
Padilla has launched a search for a new coach and established a search advisory committee to help assess candidates rsumes and interview them. They will pare it down to a top three before the names are passed to Houchin.
"We're excited about the committee," Padilla said. "We have North coaches, alumni, Ron Hoover and others. We plan to bring in four returning players for an opportunity to ask the candidates questions. I think the kids deserve to have a say. It shows a lot of character and what we think of our players."
Padilla hopes to have a new coach in place by Dec. 20.
The Red Knights have endured losing seasons six of the last seven years. The last winning season was 2006 when they posted a 9-1 mark which coincides with their last playoff appearance.
With Makar's son Brandon at quarterback, two of the Knights' seven losses this season were by two points or less.
"The kids were more unified, absolutely," said Padilla. "We were able to compete and stay in most games. We didn't win them all, but ..."
Houchin praised Makar for his leadership in rebuilding the football program and bringing back the respect and pride in the program that had been lacking.
North graduates a number of seniors from the program, but has a good group of underclassmen coming back next season.