Florida Football Coach Fired Following Post-Game Fight
Rich Bedesem, in his fifth season at Wekiva (FL) High School in the Orlando area, confirmed his firing with The Orlando Sentinel just four days after the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) levied the punishment, the paper reported.Late last week the FHSAA placed the Wekiva Mustang’s football program on administrative probation through the end of June 2022 and handed down a $500 fine to the school for unsportsmanlike conduct, The Sentinel reported. Additionally, the FHSAA also will ban the team from playing in spring games for the 2021 season while suspending 10 players from interscholastic activities for initiating a physical altercation with opposing players moments after a region playoff loss at home on November 27 to Mitchell High School.
There is video showing that a number of Wekiva players ran from the home sidelines across the field and charged the Mitchell team after taking a knee to run out the final seconds on the clock.
And a brawl breaks out after the game. Couldn’t tell who started it, but looks like @WekivaFootball charged the @MitchellHSFB sideline. Unfortunate ending to a well played game. @TBHomeTeam @SuncoastNews @PascoCountyFB @FlaHSFootball @HSFBamerica @FHSAA @PascoCoSports #HSFB pic.twitter.com/TDSp76CvNa
— Andy Villamarzo (@avillamarzo) November 28, 2020
The Sentinel reported that pushing and punching took place between the players. Tensions between spectators rose upon the conclusion of the game as they were filing out of the stadium.
— Steven Ryzewski (@Steven_Ryzewski) November 28, 2020
Additional reporting from the New York Post found that at least seven players and one parent from the winning Mitchell team participated in the fight while nine players from Wekiva left the sidelines.
“Our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and parents embrace character and sportsmanship as two of our highest priorities on and off the competition venues,” an Orange County Public Schools statement read. “The matter has been assertively addressed to align with our values and expectations that have been consistently shown to represent our community and district at the highest level.”
Bedesem lifted Wekiva High School almost immediately upon joining the program, going 43-16 in five seasons, The Sentinel stated, that included trips to the state semifinal and regional final in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
To read the full story from the Orlando Sentinel, click here.