Coach Frank Ortega Foundation, empowering and supporting the next generation of student athletes.
The Coach Frank Ortega Foundation was established to provide resources and opportunities to youth and student athletes within the Tampa Bay area. Coach Frank Ortega who was well known within his community not only for his love and dedication to youth sports but more importantly, for his voluntary financial contributions to youth student athletes. In his twenty-plus years of involvement with youth sports, Coach Frank would routinely offset the cost of registration fees for football players and cheerleaders whose families had financial hardships by paying off a balance due from his own pocket. In addition to his voluntary financial contributions, Coach Frank was known to purchase sports equipment such as cleats for those athletes who did not or could not purchase the proper shoes or equipment/gear necessary to participate in the sport. Those examples of selflessness demonstrated by Coach Frank year after year is the core of what this foundation is all about. Coach Frank believed in giving opportunities to everyone who just needed a little help. It didn't matter where the athlete was from; it mattered that the opportunity was there and he believed everyone deserved that opportunity.
The goal of the Coach Frank Ortega Foundation is to sponsor East Bay Buccaneers football and cheerleading youth athletes to off-set the cost of registration fees to families who exhibit financial hardships. In addition, the Foundation will provide scholarships to one male and one female high school senior athlete in the Tampa Bay area to assist while pursuing a higher education. The educational scholarship will be available to those athletes who would like to attend a university, community college, trade/vocational school, or join the military.
Prior to his untimely death in September, 2020, Frank Ortega devoted his life to his family, work, and youth sports. After years of migrating with his family from state to state as farm workers and graduating from Shelbyville High School where he played football and ran track as a State qualifier, he joined the United States Marine Corp. Upon settling in Hillsborough County, Florida, Coach Frank began coaching as a volunteer at the Ruskin Recreation Center. He coached flag football for 10 years, until he moved on to coach for the East Bay Buccaneers in 1999 where he coached his own son who later moved on to high school sports at East Bay High School. While most parent coaches leave the organization when their own child moves on to play in higher level of sports, Coach Frank remained with the East Bay Buccaneers and became an integral part of the organization until the time of his death. During his tenure with the East Bay Buccaneers, Coach Frank served as head coach and assistant coach at the Midget, JV, and Varsity levels, having taken some of his teams all the way to the Super Bowl. Coach Frank also held multiple board member and trustee positions with the East Bay Buccaneers during his tenure. Recognizing the dedication and loyalty he had for the East Bay Buccaneers throughout his many years of service with them, the organization has renamed their playing field to be forever known as “The Frank Ortega Field at Vance Vogel Park”. He previously served as Tri-County Youth Football and Cheerleading Conference Executive Board Sergeant at Arms, and at the time of his death, held the position of Vice President. In 2015, Coach Frank joined the East Bay High School staff, working as the in-game video coordinator.