Hillsborough County reinstates spring pay for football coaches

A week after Pasco County relented on spring supplements for football coaches, Hillsborough County decided to do the same.

Hillsborough County superintendent Addison Davis sent an email Tuesday night notifying football coaches that their spring supplement would be reinstated. The county was the last among the four in the area to pay football coaches for the month-long training session that was supposed to start on April 27.

Spring football, along with other sports such as baseball, softball and track and field, were canceled by the Florida High School Athletic Association two weeks ago because schools remained closed through the end of the semester. 

Because spring football never took place, administrators in Hillsborough and Pasco initially decided not to pay the spring portion of the annual supplement coaches receive in that sport.  Football head coaches in Hillsborough receive an overall supplement of roughly $3,700 before taxes. Assistants earn $1,900. Those totals are split into two installments with about 70 percent paid in December after the fall season, when games take place, and the remaining 30 percent paid in the spring.

The original decision to withhold pay angered some coaches in the county. 

“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 football coach Earl Garcia said two weeks ago. 

That was not the case everywhere. Hernando County paid the full spring supplement for its coaches once the school district shut down all athletic activities in March, nearly a month before the FHSAA made its decision. Pinellas athletic director Al Bennett recommended that all coaches in his county receive their full spring supplement. 

Last week, Pasco County reversed its decision, agreeing to pay football coaches their spring portion and give coaches in the other spring sports their full supplement instead of one that was prorated. 

That left Hillsborough County. Football coaches spent the past two weeks emailing county administrators, including Davis. 

“A few of us reached out and asked them to reconsider their initial decision,” East Bay coach Frank LaRosa said. “It was a good exchange. (Davis) told me he was a coach and understood our time commitment.”

The coaches in other spring sports in Hillsborough County were already getting their full supplement. Now, football coaches will get their spring portion, too.

“A win for the good guys,” LaRosa said.  

Garcia agreed.

“It ain’t enough money to be getting midnight texts over, but I’m glad the superintendent did the right thing,” Garcia said.