Florida high school football coach steps down after assistants fight at practice: report

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A high school football coach is out of his job after an altercation between two of the program’s assistant coaches.

BJ Hall, who was hired last December, parted ways with Sunlake High School north of Tampa before he even coached a game.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Sunlake offensive coordinator Connor Ferst took a blindside hit from another assistant, who is alleged to be Elijah McClendon, during a drill that got heated, and he had to receive medical attention. 

Ferst resigned on the spot, while McClendon was reportedly let go.

Hall was originally placed on administrative leave stemming from the May 1 fight, but he reportedly sent a text on Thursday to his players to tell them he was no longer their coach.

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“I would like to tell you before it gets out that I will not be the Head Coach anymore at Sunlake High School and I thank you for the past 5 months,” Hall wrote via Scorebook Live. “I am terribly sorry about how this went down and I hope to stay in touch with you and continue to be a resource [for you] and your families.”

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Principal Kara Merlin sent out a voice message to parents to say that she met with Hall and a school district representative and that she felt “it would be best if he stepped down as head coach.”

“I made it clear to coach Hall that I wish him well, and I know that ultimately we all share the same goal, which is to do what’s best for our school and all of the students,” Merlin said in the voice message via the Tampa Bay Times.

“Coach Hall’s departure is not entirely due to the incident involving his now-former assistant coaches. However, that unfortunate incident has resulted in negative national attention, divisions among parents, tensions within the Sunlake High School family and, most importantly, an immense amount of emotional stress on our players.”

The Tampa Bay Times also reported that an arrest is “forthcoming” – Ferst said he planned to press charges against McClendon.

“Pasco Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate this incident and currently [has] probable cause to arrest one individual,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Britney Morris told the Times. “At this time, we have not been able to locate the individual to make the arrest.”

Hall runs the Quarterback House in nearby Trinity and was previously an assistant at Zephyrhills Christian Academy for three seasons.

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