Calvary Christian dismissed Dave Bonchi as football coach and hired former Dunedin coach Mark Everett to take over the program, school administrator David Kilgore said Tuesday.
Everett joined Calvary’s coaching staff as an assistant last season. He coached the Falcons from 1999-2009 and guided the program to six playoff appearances and three straight titles from 2006-08.
“It was a shock to me,” Bonchi said. “I’ve never been fired from a job before. It’s the school’s right to make the decision. I don’t agree with it. I put everything I had into helping these kids and felt like the program was in a lot better shape than when we started. It’s really disappointing.”
Kilgore said the transition would be smooth because Everett already was an assistant and the coaching is in place.
Bonchi, a former assistant at East Lake, coached the Warriors the past two seasons and was 7-13 overall. After going 2-8 in his first season, Bonchi showed improvement with a 5-5 record this past season despite not having quarterback Derek Barnes, who broke his collarbone in a preseason game. The Warriors were in contention for a playoff spot through most of the season with two district losses coming in the final minutes of regulation.
Bonchi still has a staff position at Calvary Christian. He said he is unsure if he is going to stay or teach elsewhere.
"I know I definitely still want to coach," Bonchi said.
In the past year, Calvary Christian has revamped its athletic program with state-of-the-art football and baseball complexes. The school also has been aggressive in hiring high-profile public school coaches to run its athletic programs. Calvary hired former Seminole baseball coach Greg Olsen and former Palm Harbor University golf coach Jim Fuller in 2011.
Everett was hired as an assistant that same year. But school administrators insisted he was not being groomed to take over as head coach.
“We appreciate Coach Bonchi’s work and dedication, and we believe the football program moved forward under his leadership,” Kilgore said. “We have asked Coach Bonchi to remain at Calvary and continue to serve as dean of students, but in the best interest of the football program, we believed it was necessary to make a change in the head coach’s position.
"Coach Everett was unaware of our meeting (Monday) with Coach Bonchi and was only informed of our decision when we asked him to accept the position.”