Posted: 4:58 pm Monday, November 15th, 2010
By Matt Porter
Because of a car accident in August in South Carolina, Royal Palm Beach is looking for its fourth head football coach in five seasons.
In August, Frank Kunf was returning to South Florida after a summer vacation in Tennessee. When he was rear-ended by a driver on I-95, Kunf’s truck was totaled, and his right knee was injured.
With bone chips grinding his knee but football season underway, Kunf put off surgery.
Knowing he could delay the inevitable no longer, Kunf resigned as Royal Palm Beach football coach Monday morning.
“I’m looking forward to being a normal human being again,” Kunf said. “It was just a constant, constant nagging. It gets to you.”
Kunf, 61, went 6-15 in two seasons as coach. He took over the program in 2008, after Darren Studstill was fired following a series of off-the-field disputes. Studstill took over in Dec. 2007 for Eric Patterson, who resigned after four seasons.
“Frank did us a big favor two years ago,” Royal Palm Beach Athletic Director Steven Kaufmann said. “He took the job four days before the start of summer practice. He put the program on stable financial ground on the last year and a half.
“I really appreciate the job he did and the time he put in. He did a great job just getting things like equipment and facilities improved. He put a lot of work into that.
“I really do appreciate his efforts. He took that program over in a real tough spot.”
The Wildcats finished 1-9 this season. Their lone win, against John I. Leonard on Oct. 22, earned them a spot in a District 12-5A tiebreaker Nov. 8. In the first game of the tiebreaker, they lost to Santaluces on a last-second field goal.
Kaufmann said the head coaching job is open to outside candidates, and that the search will be wide-ranging.
“We want to get some fresh blood in there,” he said. “We’re going to take our time and do it right. We’re determined to get the best possible candidate.”
Kaufmann said he expects to have a new head football coach “sometime in early January.”
After his surgery, which he said should be in January or February, Kunf will continue his duties as coordinator of a work experience program at Royal Palm Beach. He did not rule out a return to the sidelines.
“I want to get healthy again. If I can coach again when I feel good – hell, I’ve done it all my life,” said Kunf, who has also coached at Olympic Heights and John I. Leonard. “It’s been good to me.
“I’ve been teaching since 1972. I still love it. If my health comes back, I’ll definitely come back and help somebody out any way I can.”
Noteworthy: Royal Palm Beach softball player Alexandria Marionakis will sign with the University of West Florida on Thursday. An outfielder, Marionakis is a four-year starter for the Wildcats.