Gaither football coach Mark Kantor has confirmed he has been dismissed after nine seasons with the Cowboys.
Kantor, who compiled a 42-55 record and led Gaither to three consecutive playoff berths (2006-08), said he was informed earlier today of his dismissal, though he'll remain a teacher at the school. Gaither athletic director Henry Strapp was in a meeting Thursday afternoon and not immediately available.
Kantor's final game, a 33-7 home defeat against Alonso that eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention, was marred by a bench-clearing altercation. The FHSAA later fined Gaither $3,200 and issued 19 one-game player suspensions to the Cowboys for their role.
"They said that wasn't a factor (in the decision) but who knows," Kantor said.
After a solid three-season playoff run, during which time Gaither showcased feature back (and eventual South Carolina signee) Jarvis Giles, Kantor's program was decimated by graduation and transfers. As a result, Gaither went 4-16 the past two seasons.
Among the Cowboys transfers: Alonso's Anthony Chickillo and Dylan Fisher, Sickles' Cary White and Hillsborough's Chadd Pierson.
"I don't think they took that into consideration," he said. "I don't know what the whole thought process is. All I know is they want to go in a different direction and it's been a fantastic nine years there."
Kantor becomes the second Hillsborough County coach to exit since the end of the regular season, joining Middleton's Jason Stokes. Kantor, 37, said he's uncertain if he'll pursue another coaching vacancy any time soon.
"I could be a circus clown or something like that; it would be a few more laughs," he said. "Maybe I'll retire from coaching, I don't know. It's one of those things of, is the passion to coach still there? Yes. Is there a want-to? Yes."