The Pirates went 6-14 in two seasons under Mathews.
After seven seasons with the team, Matanzas head football coach Don Mathews is moving on.
Mathews — who was hired as the Pirates’ head coach on Dec. 12, 2017, after five seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator — announced his decision to resign from his position the morning of Friday, Nov. 15., effective immediately.
He cited his need to focus on family as his primary reason for the resignation.
His father died October 2018.
"He’s going to be missed. I feel truly in my heart that he’s developed better young men and prepared them for the next phase of their lives.”
ZACH RIGNEY, Matanzas Athletics Director
“Since then, I’ve been doing some soul searching,” Mathews said.
In addition, his mother, who lives in Tallahassee, struggles to take care of herself.
Mathews, who will remain at Matanzas the rest of the school year and continue to coach the boys weightlifting team, said he plans to look for a job in the Tallahassee area so he can be closer to family. He doesn’t know when, or if, he’ll return to coaching football.
“That’s not really a priority right now,” he said. “I just realized I need to get back to my family. I’ll worry about football later.”
Mathews was the Pirates’ defensive coordinator for five seasons before he was hired to replace the previous head coach Robert Ripley. Mathews guided the Pirates to back-to-back 3-7 seasons.
“I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “Minus playoff years, this is probably the best season that we’ve had. We’ve had high-character kids all the way. We didn’t have to deal with any problems. At the end of the day, the kids busted their butts every single week. They got better every single week. We competed in almost every game that we played. We had our opportunities to win”
The decision to resign was a difficult one.
“I’ve made true friends and family here at Matanzas," he said. "I wish them the best. I’ll be checking on them. Go Pirates.”
Matanzas Athletics Director Zach Rigney said the school will start searching for a new head coach as soon as possible. The plan is to have one in place in time for spring football.
“First thing you want to do is thank coach Don for instilling the discipline and creating the high-character kids that we have here," Rigney said. "He’s going to be missed. I feel truly in my heart that he’s developed better young men and prepared them for the next phase of their lives.”