Make us your home page


Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hernando High head football coach removed from job



Bill Vonada, the longtime head football coach at Springstead High School who had recently completed his third year in that role at Hernando High School, said he has been asked to step aside for a new coach.

“I have recently been told by our school leadership that I have done a good job getting the football program at HHS to this critical building stage, but that there is doubt that I am the person to take it to the next stage,” Vonada wrote in a statement emailed to the Times.

He wrote that he had been asked to take a job as an assistant or consultant to the team, but had declined that offer. Vonada last week lost his run as a reform School Board candidate to incumbent Gus Guadagnino, but in his statement tamped down speculation that his removal as coach was related to his run.

“During the course of this separation process, there has been much speculation from several sources about the motivation behind this change; some of it has apparently been less than true,” he wrote.

Vonada, who led the Springstead team for 15 years, had been building a strong, disciplined team at Hernando, said Blair Hensley, owner of a Brooksville restaurant, the Florida Cracker Kitchen, which served the team a meal every Thursday.

“The discipline he had on the team was unlike anything I’ve seen in a long time ... I was very impressed by that,” said Hensley, who also called the team’s games on WWJB-AM 1450 radio.

Hensley said he had also seen improvements in the play of the team, which he said was better than its 4-5 record this year indicated. “Most of the losses were close,” Hensley said. “If the ball bounced a little differently, they could have been 7-2.”

“Sometimes it’s not just about winning,” he added. “Sometimes it’s about building great kids for the future, and he built a lot of great kids.”

Hernando High principal Leechele Booker did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 17, 2016 3:09pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours