Oakleaf has a new football coach.
Frank Garis was named the Knights’ head coach on Thursday morning, becoming the program’s fifth since it opened in 2010. He replaces Steve Reynolds, whom the school parted ways with following a 2-8 season in 2017.
Garis follows Chrys Bullock, Joel Brighton, Derek Chipoetti and Reynolds. For Oakleaf, the goal is to clear the hurdle. While it has posted solid seasons, winning eight games in 2015 and six in 2016, it has just one state playoff berth on its resume. The Knights went 12-1 in 2014 under Chipoletti.
“I felt the timing was right for it,” Garis said. “Oakleaf is one of the few jobs I’d be interested in leaving Ponte Vedra for and taking my family elsewhere. My wife and I talked about it and made the decision to go after it.”
Garis, 30, has been coaching in the area since his senior year of high school at Nease. His football playing career ended with a back injury entering his senior season, so then-Panthers coach Craig Howard carved out a small coaching role for him in 2005. Garis served as the offensive line coach at Orange Park in 2007, returned to Nease the next year, and then spent from 2009-’14 on staff at Clay under coaches Matt Toblin and Josh Hoekstra. Garis spent the last three seasons at Ponte Vedra under Toblin.
“I would say for us, going forward, we’ll look at what’s in front of us, control what we can control,” he said. “We’re going to be a physical, downhill team, beat people up [defensively], and put as many points on the board as we can. [Strength] coach [Dana] Arthur has done an amazing job there. Coach Chip did an unbelievable job as far as acquiring [assistant] coaches. Coach Reynolds did a great job keeping the staff together for continuity.”