A familiar face is returning to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Steve Strand, who took a one-year hiatus after leading the Raiders to a 344-144 record and a state title in 19 years as the boys’ basketball coach, will fill his former position following the departure of Bryan White.
“A year off did me great, it reenergized me,” Strand said. “It gives you a totally different perspective than when you are in it. My return gives the program some continuity.”
White leaves Aquinas with a team loaded for a run at the Class 7A state title and early favorite in District 14-7A, which includes defending state champion Pompano Beach Blanche Ely.
Michael Akuchie, Hank Hunter and Chris Metzger lead a returning core that White guided to a 18-9 record and the Raiders’ first regional semifinal appearance in three seasons.
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After five years as a Raiders assistant and dream first season as coach, White said a new full-time job opportunity and challenge of turning Boca Raton Yeshiva into a 3A contender was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“Last year was a great experience, my first head-coaching job,” White said. “I am going to Yeshiva to teach basketball and instill a winning attitude. I pride myself on not getting complacent and keeping myself sharp.”
▪ Southwest’s baseball team had five players sign with colleges this summer. Catcher Rey Pastrana signed with Marshall University; second baseman Tony Gomez signed with St. Thomas University; first baseman Jesse Duran signed with ASA College, shortstop Robert Campo signed with Palm Beach Atlantic; and third baseman Austin Sprinkle signed wth Lynn University.
▪ Mourning had two baseball players, Alex Perez and Aaron Petrash, sign with William Penn University.