There’s a sports adage that says “don’t be the person that replaces the legend”.
But what if it’s one “legend” replacing another.
The Miami Sports Tribune learned Tuesday night and confirmed Wednesday morning that Miami Southridge has hired Sedrick Irvin to be its next head football coach.
Irvin replaces Billy Rolle, a legendary coach that holds the distinction of being the first coach in Florida high school football history to win state championships at three different schools with a total of four titles on his resume while compiling a 172-53 career record over his 18-year career.
Rolle spent the past three seasons leading the Spartans before taking a job as an assistant coach at his college alma mater – Florida A&M University.
Irvin, still one of the most decorated high school athletes in Miami-Dade County history – that has proven he has the same winning formula now as a coach, returns to the school where he built a large chunk of his high school legacy – Southridge.
Irvin spent this past season at Miami High, where the Stingarees enjoyed a true renaissance season – going 12-2 (including a playoff victory over Southridge) and making it to the Class 8A state semifinals, but said he’s ready to grow some roots at a program.
“I wanted to find a spot where I could stay and build a tradition…I believe this could be the spot,” Irvin said. “I know my purpose in life and that’s to give back to kids and the community.”
“[Southridge] Principal Miret – a former football player and wrestler – understands the vision and the process because he’s been through it before. Now it’s time for me to do my job as far as putting the program together and getting the kids to build a foundation of brotherhood,” Irvin said.
While Irvin is a graduating alumnus of Miami High, the 1996 Miami-Dade Male Athlete of the Year spent his first three years of high school at Southridge. From 1992 to 1995, Irvin was a part of a talented backfield with brothers Troy and Darren Davis that led the Spartans to 29 consecutive victories from 1993 to 1994; captured a Class 5A state title in 1993, and was one of the top-ranked in the nation.
Irvin said he met with Southridge’s players Tuesday and challenged them to build their own Spartan legacy.
“I told them this is their team. This is not my team. I told them ‘It’s not about Sedrick Irvin. I did it, my playing days are over, you can Google me and Wikipedia me, I did it already’,” said Irvin, who is the fourth-leading rusher in Michigan State history and was a fourth-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 1999.
“I told them that they have to build their own legacy that they can talk about years from now. Because I still talk about what we did when I was here – going on a long winning streak before the Northwestern’s and the American Heritage’s did it and being ranked No. 1 in the nation. So, I challenged them to build their own legacy here.”
“It’s their team and they have to come up with a strong brotherhood. It’s my job to guide them, train them, coach them up and put them in position to succeed,” Irvin said.
Irvin has shown over the course of his coaching career that he’s capable of putting his players in position to succeed. Prior to his one season at Miami High, he coached five seasons at Miami Westminster Christian – leading the Warriors to a 42-13 record through his tenure, with three district championship seasons and a trip to the 2013 Class 3A state semifinals.
Southridge has enjoyed very productive seasons over the past four years – making four straight playoff appearances and winning a Class 8A state title in 2016. Nestled in the middle of the fertile football grounds of West Perrine, Goulds, and Cutler Bay – Southridge routinely is among the most talented teams in South Florida.
Irvin, who has also spent time coaching on the college level at Alabama, Memphis, and East Carolina, said he had one more challenge for his new players.
“I told them that they need to change the way they think,” Irvin said.
“I told, ‘I did my research and that there is no one here on First-Team All-Dade, no one on All-State, no one’s going to make the USA Today All-American team, and there is no one here with 20-plus offers. So, I want you to be pissed off for something…I want you to feel that you’ve been left out.’ I want them to think like their All-American’s…then they’ll carry themselves like one, think like one and set their goals to be one.”
“The expectation at Southridge is to always play 15 games,” Irvin said. “That’s been the tradition even before me. That’s the goal…and it’s realistic because it’s a school with rich talent just walking in the hallway. It’s my job to develop that talent and get the best I can out of these kids and everyone on the same page and have the desire to get back to Orlando.”