By Brian McLaughlin, FNF Coaches Contributing Writer
Coaching Profile: Verlon Dorminey
Team: Trinity Christian (FL)
Verlon Dorminey has heard the whispers—“Oh, Trinity Christian is good because it’s a private school in a big metro area and can get any kid it wants.”
The thing is, anybody who knows the head coach’s story knows it hasn’t always been like this. Dorminey went through 3-win seasons in the beginning like so many other high school coaches have.
Flash forward 20 years and he’s one of the most accomplished high school coaches in Florida history. And not surprisingly, he won’t take any credit for it—but the record doesn’t lie. The program has won three straight state titles, six total since 2002 … and has won 246 games in his 25 seasons.
People have to realize Trinity Christian was not a state juggernaut before the 1990s. That groundwork has been laid since. Yes, the program now attracts some of the top talent in the First Coast area. No question … but it wasn’t always that way.
It had humble beginnings.
“I didn’t have a clue back then,” Dorminey said. “I remember thinking at the end of that second season, ‘This is hard.’ We kept going 3-7 and we went independent and began to figure out as a program what it took to win and that had kind of a snowball effect.”
Dorminey said that when he was an assistant coach at TCA in the 1980s, he used to go watch Corky Rogers do his thing. Rogers, who later became a coaching icon at Bolles, was extremely successful at Robert E. Lee HS in the 1980s. Dorminey said he admired how Rogers coached the kids hard, but also had good relationships with them—and in turn the kids wanted to play hard for him.
Now Dorminey has trouble keeping track of all of the college coaches who come to recruit the campus. On the particular day FNF Football talked to him, he had met with coaches from Iowa State and FCS powerhouse Charleston Southern. He began keeping track this spring, and 48 different colleges were on campus in the first 10 days of spring football.
It all began with a 3-win season.
“It starts with a completely dedicated and loyal staff,” Dorminey said. “That’s what it is. They all know what we’ve done and what we’ve been able to accomplish and the kids all buy into that. They have all become great mentors to the kids and that’s what it is all about.”