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Vote Now: Who is the 2022-2023 Florida High School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year?

We’ve put together a list of 12 head coaches we believe are candidates to be the Girls Basketball Coach of the Year in the Sunshine State
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Winning a state championship plays a part in the nominations, but also programs being turned around after a dismal 2021-2022 campaign also we took into account as well. Plenty of head coaches around the state are more than deserving after putting in countless hours around the clock preparing their teams.

From Panhandle to South Florida, we wanted to throw out 12 names from around the state that meant a lot in guiding their respective teams through the season and also made an immediate impact on the program. Please give our list a vote and let us know if you feel someone was left out. 

Cornelius Ingram, Hawthorne: Winning Class 1A state championships in two different sports in high school is a special feat. Ingram got to do it for his alma mater and brought back a second title to Hawthorne after defeating Wildwood for the Class 1A state crown. Ingram also assists the boys program, which is in the Final Four in Class 1A, and could be in line to win another title. 

Anthony Jones, Dr. Phillips: Just one loss on the docket for Dr. Phillips all season long to Georgetown Visitation Prep (Washington DC). Now Jones and his Panthers are Class 7A champions after defeating Winter Haven 47-43 for the title. A 30-1 season is impressive and to end it with a championship is the cherry on top. 

Special Jennings, Montverde Academy: Now some may look at the Eagles as a stocked team, but it really takes some high level coaching to take the lead. Jennings’ club only loss came up against Sidwell Friends back in Jan. 16. Other than that, this team only played six games that ended in single digit scores with a loaded schedule. 

Ochiel Swaby, Miami Country Day: No Kayla Nelms? No problem for Swaby in creating some motivation for his girls. Without his top scorer, he was able to guide his team to the Class 3A state championship over Cardinal Mooney last week. That’s eight state championships for the Spartans under Swaby’s watch. 

Johnnie Lawson, Winter Haven: Though Lawson’s team didn’t exactly win it all, the Blue Devils will be back because this team is young. Winter Haven featured a number of underclassmen on the roster, including Serenity Harris. Lawson had his team on the cusp of winning a Class 7A state title, but just fell short versus Dr. Phillips. 

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Oliver Berens, St. Thomas Aquinas: A 1-3 start to the season didn’t deter Berens and the Raiders from eventually taking home the Class 6A state championship. Losses to Lake Highland Prep, Example Academy (IL) and Dillard early on only made St. Thomas Aquinas tougher. Berens pressed the right buttons when he needed to in guiding this group to Lakeland. 

Darian Dublin, Clearwater: If any coach had a trying time throughout the season and having to overcome adversity, Dublin was it. The Tornadoes head coach had to overcome a season-ending ACL injury to Georgia Southern signee Olivia Fuller to still reach the Class 5A state semifinals. It was quite the run for Clearwater. 

Brandon Stewart, Mainland: Holding up the state championship is the goal at the end of the season and Stewart led the Buccaneers to that. Stewart led Mainland to a 21-8 record and a Class 5A state title win over Plantation American Heritage. 

Al Honor, Lake Highland Prep: If you looked at Lake Highland Prep’s roster top to bottom, Honor had this Highlanders team ready once the playoffs rolled around. Playing Dr. Phillips, Example Academy (IL), Long Island Lutheran (NY), The Webb School (TN) prepared them for winning it all last week. Highlanders won the Class 4A title 55-45 over Bishop Kenny. 

Marlon Williams, Cardinal Mooney: The Cougars ended up falling short of winning it all, but it was regardless a stellar season for Williams. Cardinal Mooney started off the season with impressive wins over eventual Class 2A champion Faith Christian, Chaminade-Madonna, Lakewood and Sarasota Booker. That helped in preparing them for the tough road ahead, which ended with a berth in the Class 3A state championship game. 

Andy Sarasty, Faith Christian: When you coach both the boys and girls basketball teams at the school you’re at, a taxing feeling is an understatement. Sarasty found a way through working overtime between two programs to lead the Lions to a Class 2A state championship when it was all said and done. Now the question will be will he remain the girls coach or flip over to stay running the boys for 2023-2024? 

Yolanda Bronston, St. Johns Country Day: For the first time since 1986, the Spartans had made it back to the state semifinals. Some would say it’s easy because of having Arkansas signee Taliah Scott on your side. Someone has to make the right play calls and make sure the sets are correct along the way, though. Bronston did that in leading St. Johns Country Day back to states for the first time in nearly 40 years. 

Andy Villamarzo can be reached at and follow him on Twitter @Andy_Villamarzo.