LAKE WORTH – Brian Dodds was the architect of a team who overachieved in so many ways.
With 22 seniors and some elite underclassmen on hand for the 2016 season, pundits didn’t expect much from Park Vista. This is what happened when they lost the likes of 2017 defensive lineman and FAU signee B.J. Etienne to St. Thomas Aquinas, 2017 athlete Jalen Kinder to Delray Beach American Heritage, 2017 linebacker Zach Bernard to Boynton Beach, and a few other defections from the senior class.
For a team that was considered to be inexperienced and undersized, they did not allow the transfer moves to negatively affect them in any way. In fact, the Cobras went on to play well above their perceived abilities by mustering their first District 10-8A title and 10-0 record in the regular season.
It resulted in Dodds receiving Coach of the Year honors at the Lou Groza Awards Ceremony this past December. It also resulted in Park Vista being selected as the ESPN West Palm Team of the Year by the Lou Groza Awards committee.
In addition to all that, it resulted in Dodds winning our first-ever Roger Coffey Sr. Coach of the Year award over the likes of fellow nominees Keith Allen (King’s Academy), Brendan Kent (Oxbridge Academy), Al Shipman (Palm Beach Lakes), and Orson Walkes (Pahokee).
“I’m very honored to win the award,” Dodds said. “Last season I was blessed with a great group of young men who exceeded everybody’s expectations. I have a tremendous coaching staff, and that combination lead us to a great season!”
Although Dodds earned the area’s coaching honor himself, he went out of his way to give extended credits to the entire Park Vista program.
“The team we had last year was one of the few teams that I’ve ever seen where the players liked each other,” he said. “Almost everybody on the team wanted everyone to do well. Out of our 22 starters, 20 starters had been in our program for three years or more from the beginning. Our team last year was truly a program team.”