TAMPA, Fla. — When Kirk Karsen heard about the head coach opening at Gaither High School in 2017, he knew it was the right opportunity for him for two reasons.
First, the school is close to his house in Hillsborough County. Secondly, he believed the football program possessed great potential. This season, he capitalized on the latter, becoming the winningest coach in Gaither history.
The Cowboys beat rival, Steinbrenner, to open the 2022 season. That victory was Karsen's 44th as head coach. He did not know the win was record-breaking until his wife told him.
"I was like 'wow, I didn't know that.' We take it week by week," he said. "I don't really think about the big picture."
The success under Karsen stems from the principles he applied when he became head coach. The ideals of hard work, toughness and a blue-collar work ethic are strictly enforced.
Before getting his opportunity at Gaither, Karsen was an assistant coach in Hillsborough County for 16 years. Now in his sixth season as a head coach, he is learning more about coaching, and himself.
"A lot of it is experience and knowing how to handle each kid differently in different situations," he said. "I think sometimes you want this generic way of [coaching]...but everybody's circumstances are different."
The Cowboys continue their season on Friday against Sumner.