By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
NORTH PORT — The North Port girls soccer team has a new head coach, athletic director Cary Wilgren announced Thursday morning.
Bill Callan will take over for long-time coach Lee Thomas, who informed Wilgren of his resignation prior to the start of the school year.
“I expect him to keep the program going in a positive way,” Wilgren said of his new varsity coach. “He was very successful as our junior varsity coach. All they’ve done is win.”
Callan spent the previous two seasons as the JV coach for the Bobcats, and has served six years as the president of the North Port youth soccer program, according to Wilgren.
He’ll be replacing Thomas, who has been with the Bobcats since the program’s inception. Thomas led the team to its most successful season last year when North Port played in the district championship game, and advanced to the regional quarterfinals.
“I really was focused on doing what I needed to do as a dad, and try to focus on putting my family first,” Thomas said. “I have a 4-year-old and a 10-year-old. It gets harder and harder every year to continue being gone.”
Wilgren opened a coaching search over the last few weeks, but quickly realized the best candidate was already in the Bobcats program.
“He knows the players, and that’s a definite advantage,” Wilgren said. “They came through North Port youth soccer organization with him.”
Attempts to contact Callan by phone Thursday for comment were unsuccessful.