Seventy-two hours after he accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of South Florida, Plant High School football coach Rob Weiner had a change of heart.
He said he felt the USF job would be a great opportunity, but realized his heart was at Plant.
He met his players after school on Tuesday. Some gave him bear hugs, others shook his hand.
Coach Weiner says coaching in college had never been his dream.
"My dream has always been to use any gifts to impact the people around me, the best that I possibly can," he said
The last three days were a roller coaster for him. He spoke to the media after meeting with his players. He talked about one of his favorite books, The Prince of Tides, and the last line in the book.
"There's a line at the end of the book. In which he says, I am a teacher, a coach and a well-loved man. And that's more than enough for me."
Coach Weiner called Plant HS's principal Monday night and asked if he could come back.
His job posting had already been advertised. Principal Nelson says he already had people lining up, ready to take over this coveted job.
"We advertised it late yesterday afternoon. And had probably already gotten five or six resumes. And interest pieces about the position. But I'm sure glad I don't have to go through that process. We welcome Coach Weiner back, glad to have him," Nelson said.
His players heard rumors starting Tuesday morning that Coach might be returning. But no one wanted to believe it, until they saw him.
Middle Linebacker and tight end Andrew Beck said he was thrilled when he walked in the fieldhouse to see the coach.
"It means the world to me. I was heartbroken when I found out he was leaving. Cause you're leaving a coach but you're also leaving a friend," Beck said.
Beck was stunned to know how much the coach gave up, from a much larger salary at USF to being in the national spotlight.
"To see he gave that all up to stay here, it was shocking. It was breathtaking," Beck explained.
Parents of players and school staff filled the locker room as Coach Weiner held a news conference. They say they're all thrilled he's back.
Special teams coach Matt Walker said he's not surprised Coach Weiner chose his players.
"He's a kids coach. He coaches, but yet he teaches. He's all about kids. I think something that he built here was so special, just overcame him," Walker said.
Coach Weiner just wishes he realized it three days ago. He feels awful he accepted USF's offer and then backed out.
"But I know I made the right decision. I had to do what's best for me," he said.
He says he spoke to his parents and his brother before making his decision. Weiner says his text messages exploded when he announced he was leaving. He's still going through the 1,000 messages he got in three days.
Now, he's ready to get back to work, and continue the business he started at Plant.
"When you find that place that brings you great joy and happiness, that's something to be cherished, something to be held on to," he said.
Plant High head coach leaving for USF: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/20518056/2013/01/07/plant-high-head-coach-leaving-for-usf
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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