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ST. JOHNS, FL – Beachside High, St. Johns County’s newest high school, tapped veteran California coach Pete Duffy to lead the football program in its first year.

Duffy comes to Beachside High following a successful run in California. Over more than 20 seasons, Duffy registered 198 wins as a head football coach, with his most recent run coming with Rancho Verde in Moreno Valley, CA.

He joins a Beachside athletic department directed by Jen Harman, who spent the previous 21 years as St. Johns County's winningest softball coach at Bartram Trail High School. The two look to build this brand-new football program nestled in one of the state’s most competitive regions.

"I've never been able to do that," Duffy told the St. Augustine Record last February. "Couldn't ask for a better situation. It's exactly what I would love to do that. Starting from the ground up, it's super exciting."

Duffy’s coaching career began in 1996 and includes 15 league titles and two California Interscholastic Federation championships. Between 2005 and 2014, Duffy directed Rancho Verde to eight Inland Valley League titles and four consecutive appearances in CIF Southern Section championship games (2010-13).

In addition to his time as a head coach in California, Duffy spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Murrieta Valley (CA). In 2016, he guided the Murrieta Valley offense to 50.4 points and 566 yards of total offense per game. From 2015 to 2020, Duffy’s teams averaged 44.1 points and 426 yards per game.

Duffy has seen six of his players make it to the National Football League and eight become High School All-Americans. He’s placed over 50 athletes at Division I schools, including his son AJ, a four-star pro-style quarterback who is a freshman at Florida State University.

The cross-country move for Duffy began last year, when his son transferred from Rancho Verde to IMG Academy in Bradenton for his senior season. Living in St. Johns County puts Duffy near Tallahassee, where his son will play collegiately. Duffy’s daughter recently committed to play volleyball at Georgia Southern, about three hours north in Statesboro, GA.

Beachside, which is slated to open its doors this August, will compete in its first season without a senior class. The Barracudas will sport blue, lime green and grey as their colors. In March, the Florida High School Athletic Association announced Beachside will be one of nine school competing as an independent for 2022-23.

The first game in program history pits the Barracudas against Tocoi Creek (FL), a school in just its second year of existence. Tocoi Creek finished 5-5 in its inaugural season last year and should provide Beachside with a solid test as it opens the season.

“The expectation is to play good football,” Duffy said in May when spring practices began. “If we play our best and the other team plays their best and it’s better than us, then I have to be satisfied with that.”