Sorry for being a couple of days late on this one, but Lakeland coach Bill Castle became the third Polk County coach to crack the BHSN Top 20 list of Bay Area prep coaches.
Castle, who has won six state titles and two national championships during his 35 seasons as head coach, is another who has a strong case to be No. 1, but he came in at No. 3. I felt the same way about Bartow’s Glenn Rutenbar.
Castle has made the playoffs 24 times with a 56-17 postseason record. He was named the FHSAA’s coach of the century a few years ago and recently coached his 400th game for the Dreadnaughts.
I always appreciated the way Castle made time for all the media requests he got, whether it be from myself or other newspapers or TV stations, etc. One of my favorite moments with him was when I stopped by the Lakeland football locker room and offices on the high school campus for a quick interview. The place was empty except for Castle, who I couldn’t find at first because he was down a hallway taking care of the laundry (practice jerseys and pants).
The greatest coach of the past century according to the FHSAA was personally working on the team’s laundry. That said more to me about his passion and work ethic than anything I ever saw on the football field in my time covering Lakeland.
So, congrats coach Castle. I’ll do a wrap-up post on the full top 20 list once it’s released this week.