Cypress Lake High School fired head football coach Dale More and suspended 26 players Tuesday following what was called “an unfortunate display of unsportsmanlike conduct” by a number of Panthers’ players during Friday’s game with Mariner.
More, a 1994 graduate of Cypress Lake, was in his second season as the Panthers’ head coach and finished his tenure with a 1-17 record, including a 1-7 mark this year. Assistant coach Patrick McCarthy will take over on a interim basis for the final two games of the season.
The Cypress Lake players were suspended pending a Florida High School Athletic Association review of Friday’s game against the Tritons, which officials ended with 3:06 remaining because of consecutive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties by the Panthers. A Cypress player had to be restrained from going after the opponents following the game, which Mariner won 17-16.
The news was announced in a release by the Lee County School District, which stated More had been “permanently removed” from coaching duties. Cypress Lake principal Tracy Perkins and McCarthy declined to comment through District Communications Director Amity Chandler. More did not return a message seeking comment. The release also stated that all football practices would be closed to the media this week.
FHSAA spokesperson Corey Sobers said the organization doesn’t have a timetable for issuing its ruling but “barring something out of the ordinary” should reach a decision prior to the Panthers’ game against visiting Lemon Bay on Friday.
Earlier this season, Cypress Lake suspended assistant football coach Chris Morant for two games after video surfaced of him appearing to push a Dunbar player during an Oct. 11 game.
Cypress Lake is the third Southwest Florida program to replace its head football coach this season, joining Riverdale and St. John Neumann.
Chandler said Cypress Lake’s administration made the decision to suspend 26 of the Panthers’ 43 varsity players after reviewing video of the game against Mariner. The school will use junior varsity players to fill out its roster for Friday’s game.
Chandler said More is still employed by Cypress Lake as a physical education teacher.
Even though the suspensions were issued by Cypress Lake, Chandler said school and district officials would not be commenting about the decision to remove More as coach or the incidents that prompted the suspensions until the FHSAA issues its ruling.