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Menendez hires Matt Potak, fills area’s final football coaching vacancy

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Matt Potak has coached football on the middle school level for years.

Next up: A chance to rebuild a program on the high school level at a school that he’s very familiar with.

Potak was hired as the head coach at Menendez High School on Thursday, filling the last vacancy in the News4Jax Florida coverage area. Potak posted news of the job on the Gamble Rogers Middle School football page.

It’s Potak’s first high school head coaching job, but he’s far from a newcomer to the landscape. He’s been the coach at Gamble Rogers Middle School for years and made that team into the best in St. Johns County.

Gamble Rogers has won three of the past four St. Johns Middle School Athletic Association championships and is unbeaten in its last 20 games (9-0 in 2020, 11-0 in 2019).

Potak takes the reins from interim head coach Mark Galella.

Galella was promoted to the interim role in Week 4 after head coach Kenny Sanchez was fired following an outburst that occurred after Menendez beat Gainesville Eastside 28-3 on Sept. 18.

Hiring Sanchez, who was 65-8 at Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman, was a high risk, high reward decision that backfired.

In Potak, the Falcons get a coach who has been plugged in to the community for years and is well respected in the area. He’s also built the Gamble Rogers feeder program into Menendez to exceptional standards and has coached many of the current Falcons players at some point in their careers.

Potak becomes the sixth coach in Menendez history, following Dwaine Fisher, Keith Cromwell, Patrick Turner, Kyle Skipper and Sanchez.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.