Mike Rumph finds quick success as coach

After Mike Rumph’s five-year NFL career as a defensive back came to an end in 2007, he thought he knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

“It was one of the most difficult things I had to do,” said Rumph, who won a national title in 2001 with the Miami Hurricanes after playing high school football at Atlantic. “I kind of had a plan, but I didn’t. It was very difficult because I wanted to do so much.”

Rumph started life after football by opening a business selling puppies that later closed. He also spent some time as a personal trainer. But when he agreed to become the defensive backs coach at Miramar-Everglades High in 2010, life began to improve for Rumph.

It got even better after Rumph joined Plantation-American Heritage’s coaching staff in 2011. After two seasons as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, he replaced Jeff Dellenbach as the team’s head coach in 2013.

“I went through four years kind of figuring out exactly what I wanted to do,” said Rumph, who grew up in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. “The minute I started coaching, it took the place of all the different things I failed at.”

Rumph, 34, succeeded immediately in his new position, leading Plantation-American Heritage to its first state football title in school history in his first season as the team’s head coach.

On Friday, Rumph returns to Delray Beach, as Plantation-American Heritage (5-2) travels to take on its sister school, No. 1 American Heritage (5-1). It will mark the first time Rumph has returned to Palm Beach County as the Patriots’ head coach.

Although the success was immediate, there was a learning curve that came along with being a first-year head coach. Rumph worried about implementing structure and earning the respect of his assistant coaches.

“But early in the spring, the practices ran very fast and efficient like I envisioned and my staff responded well to me,” said Rumph, who has former NFL players like Patrick Surtain and Oronde Gadsden on his coaching staff.

The rest is history, as the Patriots finished with a 14-1 record on their way to winning the Class 5A state title in 2013.

It marked the first time Rumph had been part of that level of success at the high school level, as he never advanced to the playoffs during his playing career at Atlantic before graduating in 1998.

“It’s one of my top accomplishments,” Rumph said of leading Plantation-American Heritage to a state title. “We can go years and years without winning a state championship. I’ve been around a lot of coaches that have never won a state title, so to get it in my first year was an honor.”

But Rumph wasn’t able to experience that moment in front of his father, Mike Rumph Sr.

“I couldn’t make it to the game and I hated it,” Rumph Sr. said of missing last year’s state championship game.

But this week, Rumph will be able to coach in front of about 250 family and friends that are expected to be on hand to support him in his homecoming. His father will be one of them.

“I hear it’s going to rain,” Rumph Sr. said. “But I’ll be out there with a poncho.”

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