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Report: Melbourne Central Catholic (Florida) dismisses Nate Hooks as head coach

Per the Space Coast daily report, Hooks violated rules of FHSAA multi-game suspension back in late November

The saga between Melbourne Central Catholic and its embattled head coach Nate Hooks has come to a conclusion. 

According to a report by the Space Coast Daily’s Juan Rodriguez, MCC has fired Hooks as head football coach of the Hustlers due to violating rules during his Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) suspension. 

Per Rodriguez, Hooks was let go earlier this week due to attending a Hustlers’ home boys basketball game on Nov. 29, just five days after the football season ended. Hooks, per the report, said he was unaware of violating the terms of his suspension by attending the game. 

The head coach was even acknowledged by Melbourne Central Catholic athletic director Johnmichael Thistle at a point during the game, but was not informed his attendance was at all a breach of the FHSAA rules.

It wasn’t until January 8 that Hooks was informed his presence at the basketball game was a violation of rules. Hooks provided a statement in the Space Coast Daily’s report. 

The day I accepted the MCC job I didn’t bite my tongue and I didn’t stutter. I told everyone we would smash holy Trinity and end the losing streak.

I said we would be the District Champs. I said we would make a run at a State Championship. I said I would make MCC popular and relevant again, and make the alumni, parents, students, fans, community, and players proud again. We did every single thing I said we would do.

I’ve spent 34 years building relationships that have given me the ability to get 290 Full Scholarship offer for students in this county, worth over 69 million dollars. I get text messages from parents and players all the time asking can I help get them a College Scholarship because they can’t afford to pay for college.

On January 10, 2023, I was contacted by a parent and asked could I evaluate his son’s Hudl highlights. I did, and replied that his video looks good. The parent said it would mean a lot for his son’s confidence if I would DM him and tell him his video looks good. That’s the DM that the FHSAA said violated policy 37.1.1. and carried a 12-week suspension, which was reduced during the hearing to the end of the season.

The parent stated he wrote a detailed letter to MCC and to the FHSAA denying that Coach Hooks recruited his son, but no one responded to him or investigated.”

According to a report by the Space Coast Daily back in October, Hooks had been suspended for two games and the school was fined an unspecified amount for violation of the Florida High School Athletic Association's (FHSAA) 37.1.1 against improperly contacting players. 

FHSAA policy 37.1.1 reads: “No school employee, athletic department staff member, representative of the school’s athletic interests or third parties, such as an independent person, business or organization, may make contact, either in person or through any form of written or electronic communication or through any third party, with a student, or any member of the student’s family, in an effort to pressure, urge or entice the student to attend a different school for the purpose of participating in interscholastic athletics.” 

In the terms of Hooks' suspension, he was able to coach at practices, just not in-game. The Hustlers' staff assistants would handle all gameday duties while Hooks was suspended. 

Melbourne Central Catholic finished the 2023 season at 9-3 and winning a district championship. The Hustlers were a combined 3-17 between the 2021-2022 seasons. 

Hooks was an assistant at Cocoa High School last year where he was a part of the Tiger's Class 2S state championship winning team. Prior to that, Hooks was a head coach at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy and finished his tenure there with an overall record of 48-36. 

-- Andy Villamarzo | | @sblivefl