Lake Minneola cancels spring football amid no-show new coach

Lake Minneola’s new head football coach was nowhere to be found Monday when players reported for the first day of FHSAA spring practices.

Brett Bennett, introduced to parents and players Thursday night, officially backed out of that head coaching position when reached by the school on Tuesday.

Lake County Schools confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel in a Wednesday email that Bennett, “has decided to pursue a different option” and that the school has “already begun the process of choosing his replacement.”

Bennett has spent the past seven sevens as offensive coordinator at Escambia, where his dad Mike Bennett is head coach.

The unexpected change forces Lake Minneola to cancel spring practices and its scheduled jamboree game in two weeks at Bishop Moore, at the recommendation of former head coach and athletic director Walter Banks.

“It’s impossible to do [spring practices] when you don’t have a coaching staff or a practice plan,” Banks said by phone. “I can’t do it by myself.”

Three individuals pitched in Monday to help run players through drills.

Banks, who is finishing out the school year at Lake Minneola, resigned from his positions on March 28 and had agreed to coach through the end of spring, “because it was so late in the year and it’s hard to turn around something like that and bring in a new coach.”

But when Bennett was hired last week the decision was made by the school to have the new coaching staff take over the program.

That caused many of Banks’ former assistants, who had latched on at other programs but still planned to coach this spring at Lake Minneola, to fully commit to their new schools entering the week.

Banks, who went 62-39 in nine seasons at Lake Minneola, led the Hawks to the regional final round four times over the past five years and finished as FHSAA Class 6A state runners-up in 2020.

“It hurts me to see something I took so long to build crumble in one week,” Banks said.

This article originally appeared on Email J.C. Carnahan at