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New Moore Haven football coach ready to rebuild Terriers

Moore Haven football coach Jackie Garrett. (Courtesy photo)

Jackie Garrett has been a winner wherever he’s gone. Now he’s hoping to bring winning seasons back to Moore Haven High School football.

Garrett, 44, was recently named head coach of the Terriers, a program that has generated plenty of success in recent years, but not last season.

He’s already encouraged by the enthusiasm of the team.

“A good group of kids. I’m excited. I met with the kids and there is a lot of interest,” he said.

Garrett’s association with winning stretches back nearly all his life.

As a youth, he watched state championship teams at Glades Day coached by Byron Walker.

As a high school quarterback, Garrett led Glades Day to a state championship in 1995.

As a high school coach, he was part of the staff for coach Pete Walker on three state championship teams at Glades Day, and most recently at Clewiston, which went 8-3 last season. He described Walker as one of the greatest coaches in Florida history.

“I’ve always had good exposure to coaches and know how to model a program. I’ve always been around great programs that have been successful,” he said.

Garrett’s full-time job is in law enforcement. The Moore Haven position is his first as a varsity head coach. He realizes the Terriers’ foundation needs some rebuilding after a rocky season in which the team lost all three of its games and scored only six points.

One key starting point is the middle school team, which did not play last season, but will be back this year with an eight-game schedule. Garrett has visited some middle schools in the area and met with students in an attempt to generate interest. He liked the turnout at West Glades School.

“I was blown away by the amount of kids there. I was super excited [with] what I saw. There were probably 50 or 60 kids in the cafeteria,” he said.

He said he is eager to meet with students at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School on the Brighton Reservation, but so far hasn’t been able due to Covid-19 protocols.

Garrett is also trying to drum up more support from the community.

“We’re getting the booster club going again,” he said. “We’re trying to get the community behind us and get back to where we need to be. I know last year was a tough year for them.”

Garrett will give the team a chance for early-season bonding with a trip to Georgia to play Appling County High School in mid-September. The trip is scheduled to include a stop in Gainesville for a tour of the University of Florida.

Moore Haven’s spring game is set for May 20 against Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale.

Even though last season was void of victories, Moore Haven isn’t far removed from some of the most successful seasons in school history. The Terriers reached the regional finals in 2017 and 2019 and played in regional semifinals in 2018 and 2020.

Garrett’s focus stretches beyond getting the program back on track in the win column; he wants to help his players be solid citizens.

“I’ve always been interested in coaching and mentoring young men,” he said. “It’s not about going on to play college football; a small percentage go to play college football. It’s about making them good people in the community, go out and get good jobs and be good parents. Be a good role model in the community.”

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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