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McCray to lead new generation of Panther football

February 28, 2014
Special to the Reporter (sancapnews@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Bringing a stellar collegiate playing resume as well as a coaching pedigree earned at one of the state's finest high school programs, Xavier McCray will officially be announced as the 15th head football coach in Cypress Lake High School (CLHS) history during a reception on Friday, Feb. 28.

"We are excited to welcome Coach McCray to the Panther family," said Principal Tracy Perkins. "We interviewed many candidates and took several months filling this position because we wanted to make sure we had the perfect fit. Coach McCray has the knowledge, background and personality to positively affect our students, on and off the field."

McCray's path to becoming a Panther began in Miami, where he was named one of Dade County's Top 20 players by the Miami Herald during his prep football days under Coach Walt Frazier at Carol City High School. A highly-recruited defensive back who also ran track for the Chiefs, McCray went on to play football at the University of Florida in 1993.

Article Photos

Xavier McCray. PHOTO PROVIDED.

As a four-year letter winner at linebacker with the Gators under coach Steve Spurrier and defensive coordinator Bob Stoops, McCray earned Southeastern Conference Championship rings in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996, as well as a National Championship ring in 1996. McCray finished his career with 52 tackles and returned a fumbled kickoff for a touchdown against Kentucky in 1994.

While at the University of Florida, McCray earned both the Sophia Witherspoon Award for academics and the University of Florida Athletic Association Academic Achievement Award. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Florida in 1997.

Following a short stint in Arena League football, McCray began his coaching career as head coach of the MacArthur North Alternative High School in Miami-Dade County. His two-year stint at MacArthur North also coincided with him earning his Master of Science in Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2003.

Coach Walt Frazier and Carol City called McCray back home in 2004, where he took over coaching the Chiefs' secondary. Working under the legendary Frazier, McCray honed the Chiefs' defensive backs for three seasons.

Simultaneously, McCray also coached track and field at Carol City, leading the Chiefs to the 2008 Class 4A state runner-up spot and guiding one of the best track and field programs in Florida.

"We are thrilled to have found Xavier McCray to build and lead the Cypress Lake football program," CLHS Athletic Director David Wasson said. "I am most impressed by Coach McCray's disciplinary skills, and he is a motivational leader who also knows his Xs and Os. We have fantastic talent on our campus, as well as enthusiastic community support, and I have no doubt Coach McCray will quickly move our program forward and rebuild Panther Football."

McCray, 39, is the father of fraternal twins Halima and Yasir Abdullah. He will teach physical education at the school.

McCray was among 26 applicants for the position, of which Cypress Lake interviewed 10 finalists.

 
 

 

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