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Samuels promoted to head coach at Flanagan

The successor to Devin Bush at Flanagan has been made official, and the Falcons are staying within the family.

Stanford Samuels Jr., who served as Bush's defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, was promoted to head coach on Tuesday after Bush took a position on the football staff with the University of Michigan.

"Everybody's excited," Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo said. "[Samuels] is excited and Coach Bush is ecstatic... this is the first branch of the Coach Bush coaching tree.

"They have a lot of similar qualities in terms of coaching style and Coach Samuels is going to bring in his own little dimension of coaching."

Bush, in a message to the Herald, said Samuels "deserves it."

Samuels will be looking to pick up right where the Falcons left off under Bush, winning the Class 8A state title.

"The goal hasn't changed. Since Day One the goal has been to win a state championship," Samuels said. 

Bush and Samuels both played their college ball at Florida State, and the similarities don't end there.

Samuels takes over in a similar situation that Bush was in last season with his son, Stanford Samuels III, a highly-touted four-star senior recruit. Bush went along with son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. to Michigan, and Samuels isn't ruling out any possibilities in the future.

"The one thing I know for sure is that I'll be coaching," Samuels said. "Outside of that, as to where, I love Flanagan, we built a foundation there, a different atmosphere. We renamed it -- Dirty Bird Nation. With that being said, there's no place like home.

"Being honest, it is a possibility that a college job would come up, but you never can tell with those things. For me, it's just about taking care of this season."

Samuels is going on his seventh consecutive season coaching Samuels III. He coached his son at Flanagan his first three years of high school and the previous three years in optimist play.

While many dubbed Samuels the favorite for the job, Guzzo says that was not the case and he had to beat out other candidates that interviewed.

"We left it wide open. Going in, there was no clear-cut favorite," Guzzo said. "Everybody was on a level plain."

Bush put in a good word for Samuels.

"Coach Bush did a great job of making it evident that I am capable of doing it with the responsibilities he had given me the past three years," Samuels said. "I feel like the work was already put out there. You could already see the type of things I would do as the head guy."

On top of serving as defensive coordinator the past three seasons, Samuels has also dabbled with the offense and special teams at Flanagan, making it clear he was an all-around top candidate being involved in coaching all three phases of the game.

Samuels, who attended Miami Carol City, was quite the defensive back in his playing days. He may be most famous for this hit on Roscoe Parrish in a big rivalry game against the Miami Hurricanes while at FSU.