PANAMA CITY BEACH — Former Arnold football coach James Hale has been welcomed back to a familiar place.
Hale was named the new football coach at Cape Coral Mariner this week, returning to Lee County and the community in which he served as a football coach at Cape Coral High from 1989 to 1998. According to The News-Press in Fort Myers, Hale compiled a 52-31 mark over that span, including a five-year stretch where he was 42-11. Hale was 80-52 in 13 seasons at Arnold, serving as the school’s first football coach after opening in 2000.
Several messages left for Hale on his voice mail were unreturned Thursday.
“I’m excited. It’s like coming home,” Hale told The News-Press. “I’ve kept in touch with some of the kids I coached at Cape. I loved Cape Coral and loved the county.”
Hale is replacing Chris Siner, who coached the Tritons to a 9-21 record over the past three seasons.
“They’ve had a history and tradition of being good,” Hale said. “Hopefully we can go down there and build a program.”
The News-Press reported that Mariner athletic director Vito Mennona and school principal Robert Butz knew Hale from his previous employment in the county.
“It makes it a little easier that we know each other and have a pre-existing relationship, but it’s still a business of doing the right things for the kids,” Mennona said.