Tate High School didn't have to go very far to find its new head football coach.
Longtime area businessman and former Tate assistant coach Ronnie Douglas will take over the reigns of the Aggie football program.
The hire came during the holiday break, and Douglas' first day at Tate is scheduled to be Monday.
"I'm very excited," said Douglas, who also will teach physical education at Tate. "I know it's going to be a lot of work. I've taken on projects before, even in business, that I knew were going to be a lot of work. The excitement will be there, though."
Douglas is a 1983 graduate of Tate High. He dabbled in coaching after college, but ultimately settled down in business. He opened a few Gold's Gyms around Pensacola before owning Grocery Advantage in Molino and Cantonment.
He has since sold his share of Grocery Advantage and currently is part-owner of Ronny's Car Wash.
He transitioned back into coaching recently, serving as an assistant coach at Tate under former head coach Ed Rigby. He was on the staff which led the Aggies to the state playoffs in 2008.
Douglas left Tate to become the head football coach at Pleasant Home High in Andalusia, Ala.
In his one season with the program, Douglas went 8-4 overall and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs -- the school's first-ever playoff appearance.
He was named the Andalusia Star News Class 1A-2A All-County Coach of the Year for his work.
Last season, Douglas applied for a couple of head coaching jobs in the area -- most notably at Escambia High -- before spending the season as an assistant coach at Pace High.
"He's enthusiastic and he has a plan," Tate athletic director David Venettozzi said of Douglas. "A lot of coaches come in and don't have a plan. He has a plan, a detailed plan that he believes will get Tate back on top.
"He's a people person, and he's very familiar with the community."
Douglas was one of 46 applicants for the Tate job after Brad Naggatz was fired following a 1-9 season. He did not apply for the job last year when Naggatz was hired. Douglas said the timing was just right this year.
"In coaching, timing is a big thing," Douglas said. "The timing was a little better this time around. I just think it's a great time for me to be there and the administration, (principal) Mr. (Rick) Shackle and the committee felt the same way."
Douglas said his next step is to get to school, meet with the football team and start assembling his staff. As far as offensive and defensive changes go, Douglas said he's the type of coach that adapts his style to his personnel.
"I've coached both sides of the football, so I don't think I favor one side over the other," Douglas said. "I think coaching at Pace last year under Coach (Mickey) Lindsey opened my eyes to the fact that you have to be strong on the offensive line. You also have to be very sound on defense.
"Basically, you're going to have to adapt to the players you have. If we all had our way, we'd all do what Alabama is doing -- run the football, play good defense and have the best athletes. At Tate, we're going to try to do what's best for us to have success."