Flagler Palm Coast football coach Robert Paxia has stepped down to take a similar job at a high school in Georgia, he confirmed on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Paxia did not reveal the school, because he said he was waiting for official School Board approval. He said the position pays more. Georgia football coaches receive higher coaching supplements than Florida coaches.
"It's an opportunity for my family. It changes a lot for us," Paxia said.
Paxia was hired by FPC, his alma mater, on May 24, 2021 to replace Travis Roland, who left to become the head coach at Mainland High School.
Paxia informed his players that he was stepping down on Feb. 23, one day after FPC held a signing ceremony for eight seniors who will continue their football careers in college. He said leaving FPC was a difficult decision.
Being the head coach in your hometown is a big-time thing. I really love the school, and I really love the kids. — Robert Paxia
"Being the head coach in your hometown is a big-time thing," he said. "I really love the school, and I really love the kids."
Paxia led FPC to a district championship this past season. It was just the fourth district title in program history.
"He did a good job here," said FPC athletic director Steve DeAugustino. "We wish Robert the best of luck. He's doing what he feels is best for his family right now."
DeAugustino said FPC has begun the process of finding a replacement for Paxia.
"We're going to try to find the best person for the job. Our kids deserve that," DeAugustion said. "I'm pretty confident we'll find the right person for FPC."
Paxia had a 13-8 record on the field in his two seasons with the Bullodgs. But his official record is 10-11 due to four forfeits (FPC won three of the games) imposed by the Florida High School Athletic Association after the Bulldogs self-reported an ineligible player.
Paxia graduated from FPC in 2008. As a student-athlete, he played offensive line for the Bulldogs and won a state weightlifting championship.
While he completed his bachelor's degree at Daytona State, he returned to FPC as an assistant football coach for three seasons from 2010 to 2012 and also coached the boys weightlifting team.
After that, he coached at five different schools over the next eight seasons, including two years as an assistant at Villa Rica High School in Georgia.
In 2019, Paxia became the head coach at Lake Gibson and led the Braves to a 22-3 record in two seasons before the FPC job opened up.
His head coaching record, including one year as the head coach at Plant City, is 39-17 with the forfeits.
"Everything kind of happens for a reason," he said. "Two years ago, I needed to come here to refocus. I loved my time here. I've given nine years of my life to FPC (as a student, assistant coach and head coach)."
Paxia wrote a message on Twitter to the Bulldog community on Feb. 23 to announce his decision. "Two years ago, my family and I made the decision to return to FPC from Lake Gibson," he wrote. "It has been a great and wonderful journey. ... I would like to thank everyone for the support in the past two years and it is very clear FPC is on track to continue being very successful. Today I am stepping down as the Head Football Coach but I will always be a Bulldog!"