A high school football coach has been suspended after he caught slapping the helmet of one of his players on national television.
Mark Guandolo, who coached the Cypress Bay football side, has been suspended for two weeks by the school, even though a hoard of former players and the family of the teenager who was attacked have supported him.
Lucas Tellefsen, a senior quarterback, was struck on the helmet by Guandolo during Sunday’s preseason game against American Heritage. On Monday, Guandolo met with Tellefsen’s family to discuss the matter alongside Cypress Bay officials.
Eric Tellefsen, the father of Lucas, remarked that entire ordeal had been blown out of proportion, stating, “We’re 110 percent fine with this. We don’t want anything to happen to Coach G. He means the world to the school and this football team and he wants nothing but the best for these kids. It’s an unfortunate circumstance.”
Robert Runcie, the Broward Superintendent, released a statement confirming that the 55-year-old had been suspended from his role as a physical education teacher for three days. He has also been banned from other athletic activities for a further two weeks.
Runcie remarked, “I expect every staff member to adhere to the highest professional standards in every aspect of their interactions with our students.”
Guandolo, holding back tears, added, “It’s disappointing and it’s not something I’m proud of. I have great respect for the kid. I was trying to get him ready and fire him up. It was his first start ever and emotions were running hight. He had people coming at him and there’s no easy way to get him ready for that.”
He then added, “I was trying to fire him up, but you can’t do it in today’s day and age.”
On Monday evening, Guandolo, via the school district, released a statement that read, “I want to take this opportunity to apologize for my actions on the sideline this past Sunday. My actions unfortunately took away from the spotlight of the incredible academic and athletic programs we have worked so hard to create at Cypress Bay High School. I accept full responsibility and any resulting discipline that administration deems appropriate for my sideline conduct.”
Cypress Bay lost the encounter 38-14 against the Heritage, while cameras failed to capture the moment that Guandolo hugged the players after the slap.