BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Dedrick “D.J.’’ Mayo is the new Head football coach at Atlantic High School in Port Orange.
“Atlantic is part of my roots. It’s a unique situation. I’ve been with some good programs and made it to the playoffs. I am excited. I think that I fit into the job,” Mayo told the Daytona Times.
Mayo was the defensive coordinator at Spruce Creek High School for the past two seasons where he made its defense into a force that helped the team make the playoffs both seasons.
Plenty of coaches
The Spruce Creek Hawks gave up 17 points a game in 2017 after giving up about eight points per game in 2016.
“I felt like I did what I was brought there to do. I couldn’t leave last year after we lost nine starters on that side of the ball from the 2016 squad. That would have been tough. We rebuilt the defense so I felt comfortable,” Mayo said.
Atlantic went 0-10 in 2017 in former head coach Kendall Bradley’s only season.
The Sharks have won just four games in the last three seasons and their head coaching position has been a carousel. Pa’tell Troutman (2014) and Buster Davis (2015) never coached a game for Atlantic. Tim Smith coached the 2014 team while Max Dixon coached in both 2015 and 2016.
Mayo is ready to make the Sharks winners and get them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Atlantic only has had two appearances since 2000.
He told the Times, “I just really have to go in there and change the culture. I have to make sure that the kids are making their grades, being on time and having a great human language.”
Mayo has an extensive coaching resume covering both high school and college.
He also was offensive coordinator at Atlantic (2010-2011), assistant coach at DeLand (2008, and Warner Christian Academy (2002, 2006-2007).
In addition, Mayo is the former head coach at Warner in 2014 where he led the Eagles to a 6-5 record and just one game away from the Class 2A championship game.
He was also the head coach at Tampa Chamberlain where he went 4-6 in 2012.
Mayo also was an assistant at Warner University in Lake Wales at the NAIA level.
“It’s awesome. You know my time at DeLand is really what helped me. I got the blueprints there. I coached under Kevin Pettis who turned three 0-10 programs around into winners, including at DeLand.
“I’ve called plays on both sides of the ball as an offensive and defensive coordinator as well as head coach. I am really comfortable. My experiences at all these schools have prepared me,” commented Mayo.
A coach’s role
Mayo knows that as a coach he plays a role in shaping young men lives.
“It’s huge. We coaches often spend more time around kids than their parents do when you add it up over the years. It’s important that you set the standard that is a positive influence on the kids and reinforce anything positive that the parents are trying to instill in the kids at home,” explained Mayo.
Mayo is a graduate of Warner Christian Academy (1999) where he attended his junior and senior years and played football. Mayo also played football at Atlantic as a freshman and sophomore (1995, 1996).
He attended Johnson C. Smith University and Florida A&M University.