Miami Southridge returned to the playoffs in football this past season for the first time in three years.
The Spartans hope they took another step in returning to elite status Friday.
Southridge athletic director Shawn Carney told The Miami Herald the school has hired Billy Rolle as its new football coach.
Rolle is one of Miami-Dade County’s most successful coaches, having won state championships at Miami Northwestern and Miami Killian. He and Miami Central coach Roland Smith are the only coaches from Dade to win state titles at more than one school.
“We’re really happy to bring in someone with Billy’s experience to our program,” Carney said. “I know he’s excited to get started. He told me he wants to make this his last stop and really build this school’s [football] tradition back to what it once was.”
Rolle takes over for Don McKnight, who coached the Spartans the past two seasons and led them to a 7-4 record in 2014 that included a Class 8A regional quarterfinal appearance.
“The tradition they have is great and it’s good to get back into the rotation,” Rolle said. “What can you say about one of the storied programs in Miami-Dade County. We’re going to go to work and try to get it back up to what it was.”
Rolle has a record of 154-47 in 16 seasons as a head coach, including two stints at Northwestern and stops at Killian and Coral Reef. Rolle led Northwestern to state titles in 1998 and 2007, the latter being a national championship year, and led Killian to its lone state title in 2004.
Rolle is also one of five coaches to win at least three state titles in the modern era (Walt Frazier, Carol City; Tim Harris Sr., Booker T. Washington; Nick Kotys, Coral Gables; and Roland Smith, Northwestern/Central).
Rolle coached Coral Reef last season; the Barracudas finished 2-8.
Southridge is one of five schools along with Coral Gables, Northwestern, Central and Booker T. Washington to win multiple state championships in the playoff era (since 1963).
“I met the kids today and had their attention immediately,” Rolle said. “I spoke to them about working hard, which is something they are already used to doing. One thing that got them fired up is that I told them that all the state titles I’ve won over the years, we always had to go through ‘The Ridge.’
“Every run we made, we had to beat them. That gave them a taste of confidence so they know that the school has been down at times but never out.”