The Estero High football program will be in search of its third head coach in less than a year. The current coaching search began a week before fall camp.
Brad Vojcak, who was elevated from interim head coach in February, resigned Friday due to what Estero athletic director Gary White called a “family situation” in Chicago. White said assistant coaches Darren Nelson and Dave Smith will handle the day-to-day operations while the administration looks to find a new coach before the 2018 season begins.
“Across any coaching spectrum, family always comes first,” said White, a longtime coach at Estero who took over as AD in the spring. “If this is what’s best for Brad’s family and what’s best for Brad, we wish him the best.”
The Wildcat football team has been in a state of flux since October when third-year coach Jeff Hanlon was removed from his position following the results of an investigation into misconduct by the Lee County School District. Hanlon, whose teaching contract wasn’t renewed, was found to have mismanaged finances associated with the football and booster programs and the failure to follow appropriate concussion protocol.
As the interim coach, Vojcak, who was hired as the offensive coordinator in prior to the season, went 2-3 with wins over Lemon Bay and Cypress Lake. The Wildcats finished 3-6 and nearly upset eventual regional finalist Fort Myers in a 14-13 loss late in the season.
Vojcak was among 55 candidates who submitted applications in November to be the next head coach at Bradenton Southeast High, the Bradenton Herald reported. The job ultimately went to Brett Timmons.
After the interim tag was removed, Vojcak coached the Wildcats throughout spring practice and during their spring game loss to Golden Gate.
White said Vojcak, who declined to comment, spent last week in Chicago and informed White of his decision to resign Friday. The job was advertised Saturday and the team was informed Monday.
While workouts have been conducted by former East Lee County High coach Smith and Nelson throughout the summer, camp begins Monday running for three weeks before Estero hosts First Baptist Academy in a preseason classic on Aug. 17.
“These kids are resilient. They just want to play football,” White said. “They want to represent their school. One coach isn’t above the program. This is about Estero High School.”
White said a “best-case scenario” would be hiring a coach within the next two weeks. Interviews are expected to be conducted early next week.
“This is a short-term thing,” White said of the uncertainty surrounding the program. “We won’t be rushed in this process. In the long term, we’re going to put the right person in place. That’s all we can do.”