Cypress Bay Coach Under Fire for Slapping Player's Helmet

Mark Guandolo was caught on camera slapping the helmet of senior QB Lucas Tellefsen in ESPN broadcast of Cypress Bay-American Heritage game

By David Hill and Myriam Masihy
|  Monday, Aug 26, 2013  |  Updated 9:37 PM EDT
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Cypress Bay football coach Mark Guandolo is facing scrutiny after he slapped the helmet of one of his players during a nationally-televised game between Cypress Bay and American Heritage on Sunday night.

Cypress Bay football coach Mark Guandolo is facing scrutiny after he slapped the helmet of one of his players during a nationally-televised game between Cypress Bay and American Heritage on Sunday night.

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Cypress Bay football coach Mark Guandolo is facing scrutiny after he slapped the helmet of one of his players during a nationally-televised game between Cypress Bay and American Heritage on Sunday night.

A video from the broadcast showing the incident was uploaded to YouTube shortly after the game. It went viral Sunday night, prompting Cypress Bay administrators to meet with Caruso, QB Lucas Tellefsen (whom Caruso slapped), and his family Monday morning.

"I don't see anything wrong with that," says Tellefsen's neighbor Andre Sucre.

She says "all coaches do that it's like the typical football thing to do."

Tellefsen's father isn't upset either. He told NBC 6 he's "110 percent behind the coach."

In fact, Eric Tellefsen's Facebook page has a picture of the man he calls "Coach G" with his older son. Guandolo, apparently knows the family well and says he was trying to motivate the quarterback.

In Weston, Cypress Bay high school parents reacted to the news. Romeo Caicedo says he saw the incident live in television. " My first reaction was why would he slap that kid in the helmet, that was not the right thing to do," he says.

The incident has prompted the school board to give Coach Guandolo a three-day suspension from work and a two week suspension from athletic activities.

Superintendent Robert W. Runcie says he expects "every staff member to adhere to the highest professional standards in every aspect of their interactions" with their students.

"They probably went a little bit overboard with the suspension. I think that perhaps a conversation with the parents and the principal of the school and some person from the school board would be more than enough," Cypress Bay parent Carlos Gonzalez disagrees.

Many parents feel the same way. Coach Guandolo is very well known in the community. He's the only head coach in state history to lead 3 different high schools to the state championship.

NBC 6 reached out to coach Guandolo but did not hear back from him.

Guandolo apologized in an email statement on Monday.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize for my actions on the sideline this past Sunday. My actions unfortunately took away from the spotlight of the incredible academic and athletic programs we have worked so hard to create at Cypress Bay High School. I accept full responsibility and any resulting discipline that administration deems appropriate for my sideline conduct," he said.

Guandolo has been a coach in South Florida since 1987, having worked at Opa-locka Monsignor Pace, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna, Miramar, and Miami Southridge previous to his stint at Cypress Bay.

The video of the incident is below:

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