LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — Life came full circle for first-year head coach Marvin Frazier. He joined the Lakeland Football program in 2019 as a wide receivers coach and wanted to learn from legendary Bill Castle. 

Castle, who coached the Dreadnaughts for 52 seasons, retired in January of 2023 after a long and successful tenure at Lakeland High School. He has eight state championship trophies sitting on the shelf. 

Frazier had no idea one day he’d be filling the shoes of who he sees as a father figure.

“I was willing to do anything,” coach Frazier said. “I was an offensive coordinator, and I had some possible head coaching jobs at some top schools in Florida, but there was something about what he was doing here that I wanted to learn.”

“I told him in the interview, ‘If you need water filled, I’ll do it. Whatever you guys need, I’ll do it,’ but I just wanted to learn from him,” Frazier shared. “The goal initially was to just be here for a semester, but God had another plan for me.”

And Coach Castle isn’t going anywhere. He plans on supporting coach Frazier through the Dreadnoughts’ new era.

“Coach Castle and I speak daily. We just got off the phone. He’s not just a mentor figure. For 50 years, he’s been a father figure to people,” said Frazier.

And Frazier doesn’t take the handoff lightly. He feels it’s a privilege that Castle wants him to lead the program. 

“You would’ve never guessed that some guy from North Carolina would be the one, but I’m excited I felt chosen and the fact that he told me that this is the route he would like for me to go,” said Frazier.

How do you win eight state titles and nine championship appearances over the course of 50 years?

“One day at a time, one day at a time. That is the answer,” said Frazier.

The Dreadnaughts lost their first game last week to Norland. However, Frazier sees it as a positive and learned a lot about his team as they look to bounce back Friday against Largo.