ELLENSBURG — Blaine Bennett has been fired as the football coach at Division II Central Washington just days before the Wildcats begin fall camp.
The school announced the decision Friday, less than a month before the team opens the season against Texas A&M-Kingsville. Long-time assistant John Picha has been appointed to be the Wildcats’ interim head coach.
The move affects a number of former Snohomish County football players like Mitch Haldane (Mountlake Terrace) and Jerod Baker (Arlington), who have played for Bennett for multiple seasons.
We still on no matter who’s the captain of the boat!!
— Mitch Haldane (@Native_Nobility) August 9, 2013
Athletic director Dennis Francois said the school chose to move in another direction and that a national search for a permanent head coach would start after the season.
Bennett was hired in 2008 after John Zamberlin left to become head coach at Idaho State. Bennett was 41-16 in his five seasons as Central’s coach. No reason was given by the school for Bennett’s firing.
Picha joined the football staff as a graduate assistant in 1988 and played for the school in 1986 and 1987.
Lake Stevens’ grads Jake Nelson, Christian Gasca, Korey Young and Brady Pahukoa, Blake Williams-Miller (Everett) and Nic Cooper (Kamiak) are all in their second season at Central, while a number of other incoming freshmen like Justin Peterson (Lakewood), Sean Elledge (Glacier Peak), Desmond Young (Edmonds-Woodway) and Brian and Kyle O’Donnell (Stanwood) will now have to play for a different coach than the one that they thought they’d be playing for.
Here’s a collection of tweets from former Snohomish County football players who are on the Central Washington roster.
He’s the coach who gave me a chance tho so S/O TO HIM MUCH RESPECT AND THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY
— H.W.P.O (@Desmond_Young22) August 9, 2013
God damn it. If 3 head coaches in high school wasn’t enough, my new head coach for college got released…
— Brian O’Donnell (@B_OD9) August 9, 2013