Pinellas County athletic director Al Bennett announces retirement — March 8, 2024

Pinellas County athletic director Al Bennet said he has retired from the position. His last day is today. 

Bennett, who served as the county athletic director for the past seven years, is in DROP (deferred retirement option program).

“I could have gone one more year (in DROP), but I thought it was time,” Bennett said. 

A replacement likely will be announced after spring break, Bennett said. 

Bennett, a staunch supporter of athletics, understood the vital role they played in boosting school morale, in building friendships and in testing students beyond the classroom.

After 11 years as St. Petersburg’s principal, Bennett was looking for a job where he could apply his knowledge of athletics even more. He found it when he was hired to become Pinellas County’s athletic director.

Bennett replaced Nick Grasso, the former Clearwater principal who retired after 11 years as the county AD.

Throughout his tenure, Bennett had to navigate complex issues, such as handling athletic events during  pandemic, scheduling games during a series of hurricanes and storms and dealing with varying playoff structures and classification changes.