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ORANGE PARK, FLORIDA – The Orange Park Raiders look to rebuild their program with former NFL defensive back Marcus Wimberly as the team’s new head football coach. Wimberly comes to the Northeast Florida area following a successful run in Tennessee, where he earned Shelby County Public Schools Coach of the Year honors five times and won a state title.

Wimberly posted an 81-57 record at Memphis East, including reaching the playoffs nine times and winning the 2016 Class 4 A Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association championship. Over the last four seasons, Wimberly lead Cordova to two playoff appearances. He leaves the state of Tennessee with a 93-77 record over 15 seasons as a head coach.

“While we had a very talented pool of applicants for the position, we were looking for exceptional experience to turn the program around and create champions in the classroom and on the gridiron,” said Orange Park athletic director Destiny Brightman in a news release following the hire, “and Coach Wimberly has a proven record of doing just that.”

Wimberly replaces Tom MacPherson, who coached at Orange Park for six seasons, posting a 23-36 record overall. Last season the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) moved the Raiders football program to the 6A classification. Following the reclassification, Orange Park finished with a 3-7 record.

The Orange Park football program sports just winnings seasons in the last 10 years, 2013 and 2018. The Raiders last qualified for the playoffs in 2010, though the team did participate in the 2020 postseason, a season with no qualifying criteria due to the pandemic. It’s been more than a decade since the last time Orange Park enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons (2008-2010).

Throughout his career, Wimberly guided more than 30 of his players to earn college scholarships. Four have progressed to play in the National Football League. He played his own collegiate days for the University of Miami in the early 1990s and worked his way to the NFL from there. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Wimberly out of Miami in the fifth round of the 1997 NFL Draft, but his professional career was cut short following just six games due to injury.

Wimberly calls the focus on the whole student-athlete a priority, along with establishing championship culture and mentality in the program.

The school’s news release last January noted Coach Wimberly stands “excited for this new opportunity and is ready to hit the ground running.” It said he’s “looking forward to engaging the players and their families, the school’s alumni, and the local community.”

Orange Park junior Roderick Kearney, one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the area, recently committed to Florida State University. Kearney earned first-team All-First Coast honors last season and ranked as a four-star prospect for most recruiting services.

The FHSAA slotted Orange Park into the 3-3S (Suburban) District for 2022-23. They’ll square off against fellow district rivals Columbia High, Middleburg, and Ridgeview.