Football High School

Coral Gables Fires Tim Neal; Bringing Back Roger Pollard

The week following the end of the regular season – for any level – is typically when teams begin making moves.

South Florida’s high school coaching carousel began to spin Monday as the Miami Sports Tribune confirmed that Coral Gables was firing Tim Neal as head coach after one season.

Neal led the Cavaliers to a 4-5 record this season and failed to make the playoffs – weakening their case to reach the postseason under the new playoff point system with losses to Miami Palmetto (33-30 in double overtime) and Miami High (55-48 in quintuple overtime).

Neal confirmed the move when reached by phone, saying he was notified in a meeting with the school’s principal Monday morning.

“They told me that they wanted to go in a different direction,” Neal said.

Neal said he will still work as a teacher at the school.

The Tribune also confirmed that Coral Gables plans on bringing back Roger Pollard to be its next head coach.

Calls to Coral Gables’ administration were not immediately returned, but sources close to the situation confirmed that the school planned on notifying players of the moves – Neal out and Pollard in – after school Monday.

Pollard was the Cavaliers’ head coach from 2012 to the end of the 2016 season before he stepped down to take a job in the private sector with his high school teammate and friend former New Orleans Saints and University of Miami linebacker Jon Vilma.

In his five seasons, Pollard found steady success leading his alma mater. The team reached the playoffs each year under Pollard – reaching the regional finals twice and the regional semifinals three times – won two district titles, and compiled a 45-18 record.

Neal was brought in to replace Pollard in February – on Pollard’s recommendation – after he spent the previous eight years at Southwest Miami High. In Neal’s time at Southwest, he led the Eagles to a 50-26 record with six playoff appearances and a pair of district titles.

On the surface, it seemed that Neal would be a perfect fit with the Cavaliers given he spent a decade with the program as an assistant coach under Joe Montoya and had coached some of the best players to come out of Coral Gables.

J.T. Wilcox
J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" blog and "The Baldcast" podcast.

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