The search continues for Enterprise High School’s next football coach and two highly successful coaches have emerged as the leading candidates.
Enterprise superintendent Greg Faught confirmed to The Sun on Monday, Nov. 26, that longtime Apopka coach Rick Darlington and North Jackson’s Mark Rose are currently the school’s leading candidates.
Rose is a Venice, Fla. native and former starting offensive guard for legendary coach Pat Dye’s Auburn teams in the late 1980s.
After graduating from Auburn, Rose accepted a position as assistant coach at Smiths Station, where he was the defensive coordinator and strength coach from 1994 until 1998.
In 1998, Rose took over as head coach of Tallassee High School and turned a struggling team into a powerhouse, winning 23 games between 1999 and 2000.
Following the 2000 season, Jones accepted the head job at North Jackson and led the school to an 85-15 record with seven region titles in his eight seasons there. His 2002 team made it all the way to the state championship, where it lost to UMS-Wright.
Rose took over at Smiths Station in 2008 when legendary Alabama star Woodrow Lowe retired and led Smiths Station to a 34-31 record in six years there.
In 2014, Rose returned to North Jackson and has led the school to a 33-23 record during that time, including an 11-1 record and region championship in 2018.
Rose’s overall record is 172-75 with 10 region championships and a 22-17 playoff record in his 21-year career.
Darlington is a Lakeland, Fla. native and the mastermind of the innovative and unconventional single-wing offense.
Darlington is as much known for his championships, as he is his offense, though.
Darlington has compiled a 159-43 record in 16 seasons at Apopka High School and won three state championships.
Darlington has also coached at Valdosta High School in Georgia and Eustis High School in Florida.
Darlington owns a 206-69 career coaching record and is central Florida’s all-time leader in playoff wins. In his career, 20 of his 22 teams have made the playoffs and he earned 2012 Athlon Sports Florida Coach of the Year and 2003 Associated Press Georgia Coach of the Year.
Darlington’s unique single-wing offense, which many times doesn’t even feature a quarterback, has set numerous high school records in Florida. The 2013 Apopka offense set the state record in points scoring 50.1 points per game and broke the state record for team rushing yards with an eye-popping 6,000 yards.
Faught said that he hoped to name a new coach by as soon as next week. Darlington and Rose are currently the top candidates for the job, but that could change over the next week as coaches continue to apply.