No spring football, no spring supplement for coaches in Hillsborough and Pasco

County administrators in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas were already formulating plans on what to do with the supplements public school coaches receive if the Florida High School Athletic Association decided to cancel spring sports. 

That announcement came Monday when the FHSAA called off the remainder of the season. The move was made two days after Gov. Ron DeSantis said schools should be closed for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Sports such as baseball, softball and track and field were able to get in a handful of games or meets before their seasons were postponed, then eventually cancelled. 

Those coaches are all receiving supplements, though some are prorated.

Spring football never happened. The month-long schedule was supposed to start April 27. 

And that means no spring supplement for public school coaches in Hillsborough and Pasco. 

The move was not a surprise in Hillsborough, where nearly every coach had already received an email from their school athletic director informing them the supplement would not be paid within the past month. 

Football coaches in Hillsborough receive an annual supplement of roughly $3,700 before taxes. That total is split into two installments with about 70 percent paid in December after the fall season and the remaining 30 percent paid in the spring.  

It was a move that angered some coaches. 

“We’re not talking about a lot of money, but it’s disrespectful, a slap in the face to all of us who are working throughout the year, spring football or not,” Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said.

Pinellas County athletic director Al Bennett said he recommended that coaches in all spring sports, including football, receive their supplement. Hernando County also is paying spring supplements to its football coaches.

“The money was already earmarked,” Bennett said. “Football coaches started working in January and they go through the summer. It’s pretty much non-stop.”

The debate whether to pay supplements comes with budgets tightening around the area. For example, the athletic trainers for PT Solutions, which covers every Pasco public school, were furloughed.

“I’m still an advocate for the coaches,” Pasco County athletic director Matt Wicks said. “I want them to get paid, but I’m only one voice.”