HS coach suspended after slapping QB

Coach Mark Guandolo slaps QB Lucas Tellefsen on the helmet.
Coach Mark Guandolo slaps QB Lucas Tellefsen on the helmet.
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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.


A Florida high school football coach has been suspended for two weeks of athletics activities after video of him aggressively slapping a player’s helmet following a bad play went viral.

Mark Guandolo’s Cypress Bay team was trailing American Heritage 14-7 in the second quarter of a nationally televised 38-14 loss Sunday when Cypress Bay senior quarterback Lucas Tellefsen overthrew an open receiver on third down.

As Tellefsen approached the sideline, he was confronted by three coaches, and after a short discussion, Guandolo made contact with Tellefsen’s helmet as he walked away:

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Broward County Schools on Monday suspended 55-year-old Guandolo for three days of work — he is a physical education teacher at the school — as well as two weeks of athletic activities.

"I expect every staff member to adhere to the highest professional standards in every aspect of their interactions with our students, " Broward Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie told the paper in a statement.

Added Guandolo: "It’s disappointing and it’s not something I’m proud of. I have great respect for the kid."

It’s unknown whether Guandolo could face further penalties for the slap, but the quarterback’s father said he does not want to see any further punishment levied against the coach.

"It’s a non-issue," Eric Tellefsen told the Sun-Sentinel. "We’re 110 percent fine with this. We don’t want anything to happen to Coach G. He means the world to the school and this football team and he wants nothing but the best for these kids. It’s an unfortunate circumstance.

"... He’s coached two of my older sons that are in college on football scholarships. There’d be a line wrapped around the corner if you called his players and wanted to know what he’s done for them."

Shortly after making contact with the quarterback’s helmet, Guandolo can be seen reaching to grab Tellefsen as the camera cuts back to game action. According to Eric Tellefsen, Guandolo was giving his son a hug that was not seen on television.

"I was trying to get him ready and fire him up," Guandolo told the Sun-Sentinel. "It was his first start ever and emotions were running high. He had people coming at him and there’s no easy way to get him ready for that.

"I was just trying to fire him up, but you can’t do it in today’s day and age."

Guandolo started coaching at Cypress Bay in 2007 and led the team to a 56-19 record in his first six years on the job. Last season, he guided Cypress Bay to the Class 8A state championship game, making him the first coach in Florida history to lead three different schools to the state title game.

He coached Miami Southridge to a state runner-up finish in 1999 and took Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna to state championship games in 2002, 2003 and 2005, winning in 2003 and 2005.

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