LYNN HAVEN — Michelle Mask has been there, done that. Jon Mason is entering the unknown in some regards.
Both were named this week as Mosley head coaches in volleyball and girls basketball, respectively, replacing Steve Canfield who resigned under pressure both of those positions last month.
Mask, 39, is a former USF volleyball standout who has been a head coach at the 6A level in both California and Texas prior to relocating back to Florida.
Mason, 27, was a standout on the Bay High School team that reached the Final Four a decade ago and went on to play at Florida A&M and briefly in Italy. When tryouts open Oct. 21 at Mosley it not only will be his first head coaching position in high school, but the first time he has mentored a girls team.
Neither are employed by Bay District Schools and have full-time jobs outside of the coaching profession. Their supplement will be $3,230.
Mask coached at the middle school and club level in Bay County before being named Canfield’s assistant this season. She therefore is acquainted with many of the players on the Dolphins, who have won 12 consecutive games and are 13-1 overall. She said one of her goals was to coach her daughter, who will enter Mosley next school year.
“I’m not crazy about how it happened … but ultimately my goal was to go through that experience with her,” she said. “I thought maybe the next couple of years I’d be the JV coach. When it opened up I went ahead and jumped.”
Thus far the results have been positive. Not only are the Dolphins atop District 1-5A, a few weeks ago they handed powerful Gulf Breeze only its fourth home defeat in the past five years. Mosley then defeated Gulf Breeze in the rematch last week.
“We can go all the way, I see us in the Final Four,” Mask said. “We’ve got such depth.”
Mask, who does contract work with the Department of Defense, noted that she was ranked second in the nation in digs as a sophomore in college. That references one of her coaching strengths.
“Passing in the back row,” she said. “We have strong hitters, no doubt, but I’ve already had parents tell me they’ve seen a change” in Mosley’s back row execution. “It’s not like the girls don’t know me. “I worked with the girls this summer. I was in the gym every day. I feel that I’ve been welcomed with open arms by parents, administration, other coaches.
“As a coach there always are a couple hiccups. Melanie (Canfield) is still on the team and I know it’s hard for her. I want to coach my daughter and she wanted to be coached by her dad. We have to keep that in mind that it’s tougher on her than anybody. And Steve ran a very successful program. I don’t take that away from him.”
Mason said that he began coaching middle school basketball at Holy Nativity School and the past two seasons coached the Bay boys JV to a 29-6 record.
He’s coached some co-ed teams at the Boys and Girls Club, just never an exclusively all-girl team. But, he said, basketball is basketball.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Mason said. “I know there will be some challenges and changes I may have to make as far as dealing with girls. Different demeanors may come along with it.”
Mason’s day job is a linkage coordinator for BASIC of Northwest Florida. He defined his duties as linking patients to medical care once they have tested positive for HIV. In that regard, his coaching challenge may not see too daunting.
Mason hasn’t met with his players yet to get a better idea of their strengths, but has a philosophy in mind for how he wants the Dolphins to play.
“My style is that I want to push the ball,” he said. “Press people, speed the game up and get more opportunities on the offensive end.”