JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The most storied public school football program in the area has a new coach that knows the place well.
Former Raines football player and defensive coordinator Donovan Masline was named the Vikings new head coach on Friday and will try and keep the tradition alive and thriving. Masline had been serving as the program’s interim head coach since Deran Wiley, another former Raines alum, resigned in early March.
Athletic director Tony Bannister said that Raines narrowed candidates down to five or six and went through the interview process throughout the week.
“We had some great interviews, man, real good candidates,” Bannister said. “He had the best presentation. He’s primed and ready. He’s a good young coach, ready to take the reins and lead Raines.”
Masline, 29, is a Raines product who went on to play cornerback at Alabama State. He returned to the area after graduating college in 2012 and has been working at Raines. Masline has coached track and field as well as football.
“Many different angles; a spectator and fan, as a student athlete and as a coach, I feel like I’ve come full circle,” Masline said. “It’s like a dream come true. It’s a humbling experience. The rich tradition and legacy the school has, you put forth your best effort when you get an opportunity like this.”
Masline replaces Wiley, one of the most successful coaches in area history. Wiley led Raines to three state championship games and won back-to-back titles in 2017-18, the first time that a Duval County public school has won consecutive Florida High School Athletic Association crowns.
Wiley was 98-33 and went to the state playoffs in 10 of his 11 seasons. He never went worse than 6-5. Wiley stepped down in early March to spend more time with his family. Wiley, like Masline, served as the team’s defensive coordinator before being promoted to head coach. His tenure is the most successful in program history.
Masline said that the COVID-19 pandemic and time away from athletics has allowed him to reinforce to players how important that academics are.
“We’re going to make sure we’re doing our work to get to the next level,” he said. “When they give us the word go [to practice], everybody needs to be ready to go academically.”