Posted: 7:39 pm Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
By Matt Porter
Jupiter High on Tuesday named its first new head coach since 1982, selecting Doug Uccellini to succeed the recently retired Charlie Persson.
Uccellini, 38, was a multi-faceted assistant last year under Persson, who coached his last game in November after 30 years on the sidelines.
“My goals are to bring enthusiasm to the team,” said Uccellini, who becomes the ninth head coach in school history. “That enthusiasm will take it to the next level.”
Persson, a 2008 inductee into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, retired with a 144-165 record at Jupiter and 15 playoff appearances. He was the third-longest-tenured head coach in Palm Beach County history, behind Benjamin coach Ron Ream and former Cardinal Newman coach Sam Budnyk.
Uccellini, who coached offensive line and helped call offensive plays, was expected by many to be named Jupiter’s new coach, but said he was chosen from a pool of more than 30 applicants after a stringent interview process. He said he will retain three assistant coaches, including offensive assistant Eric Kresser.
A Connecticut native, Uccellini moved to Jupiter seven years ago and began coaching under Lake Worth coach Errick Lowe. He coached Lowe’s offensive line for two years and later was defensive coordinator until leaving for Jupiter.
“He was my right-hand man,” Lowe said. In 2010, the Trojans won their first district title since 1986 and won their first playoff game since 1979.
Uccellini will have large rebuilding task at Jupiter (4-6), which returns 13 varsity players and hasn’t made the playoffs since winning a district title in 2004.
“He knows how to do it,” Lowe said. “Replacing Charlie is tough, but he knows what it takes, from the weight room to the film room to the practice field.”
Senior lineman Chas Lofquist said the morale was low, but Uccellini’s presence last season helped provide a spark.
“Around school, all you hear is crap about the program and how bad it is,” Lofquist said. “It’ll be a rough comeback, but he can do it. I believe he can.”