By: Ken LaVicka
For several years Seminole Ridge football has been a pillar of consistency, winning three straight district titles and producing several talented college prospects. For the first time in its 8-year history, maintaining that consistent nature will be charged to someone not named Matt Dickmann.
Steven Humphrey was named Seminole Ridge's second-ever football coach Monday after a two-year run as Flagler-Palm Coast's offensive coordinator. He heads to Loxahatchee to replace Dickmann, who went 52-33 as the program's creator before departing to take the head job at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga.
"[Dickmann] laid the foundation for a program that’s known throughout the state, in the highest classification, of being a great football program," said Humphrey, who's Palm Coast teams went 9-11 in his two years in charge of the offense.
Humphrey inherits a team that advanced to the 8A regional final this past year, but will lose highly-touted RB Silas Spearman and Minnesota linebacker-commit Rayfield Dixon to graduation. Seminole Ridge has developed a reputation of continuing to generate strong classes, however, and with five playoff victories in the last three years, the Ridge job was arguably the most attractive coaching opening in all of Florida this offseason.
"It's not only a great football program, but great people," said Humphries. "From what I’ve been told, and kind of one of the things that attracted me to it, is they're hard working, great in the weight room, and just great football players.
"That’s what intrigued me. The area, and the foundation coach Dickmann built. I'm just excited about getting down and being a part of something with great tradition."
The Humphrey family has "tradition" of its own in Palm Beach County. Lacy "Bill" Humphrey, Steven's grandfather, was Lake Worth's head football coach from 1964-75, a role he served while doubling as the school's track coach. The elder Humphrey hired Lake Worth's first African-American assistant coach, Nate Collins, who went on to become the long-time principal at Palm Beach Lakes. Humphrey, who passed away of throat cancer in 2010, is a member of the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Steven is proud of his grandpa's legacy and doesn't think there's any coincidence to taking the Seminole Ridge opportunity almost forty years after Bill coached his final game at Lake Worth.
"I’ve been blessed to kind of be born into this thing and it’s what I’m meant to do, I truly believe that."
According to Humphrey, his philosophy revolves around the "Five F's": Faith, Family, Future, Football and Fun. He says his new players can expect to hear a lot about those core values.
How does Humphrey feel about moving into a high school football hotbed like Palm Beach County? Is there pressure? He doesn't sound overwhelmed. In fact, Humphrey is already showing county pride like some of the area's coaching veterans.
"You always get in arguments when you play college football outside of the state that 'my state is this and my state is that', and I truly believe Florida is the best state there is in football, and Palm Beach County is one of the best counties around. Just being able to coach that caliber of athlete is going to be awesome. "
The gritty, physical personality of Seminole Ridge football has come largely due to its smash-mouth "Wing-T" offense, but Humphrey appears more than willing to change things up a bit.
"If we have four wide receivers who can go get the ball, then were going to throw it around a little bit. If we have a hard-nosed offensive line, then were going to run the ball right behind them," explained Humphrey.
"We're going to be balanced in whatever we do. We're going to be multiple formation but our offense will be dictated by the type of caliber kids we have, and we'll put them in the best position to be successful. For me to say were going to go 'four-wide spread offense' and sling it around, or we're going to be 'Wing-T', or be 'I-formation', that’s not the case."
Humphrey will be in Loxahatchee to evaluate the coaching staff and start putting together a plan for spring football "no later" than two weeks from Monday.
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There are no games scheduled for today.