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Former longtime Land O’ Lakes Gators football coach John Benedetto passes away

Posted Apr 22, 2013 by Mike Camunas

Updated Apr 22, 2013 at 05:03 PM

Former Land O’ Lakes football coach John Benedetto, who coached the Gators from 1977 to 2008, passed away early Monday morning, the Tampa Tribune has learned.

Benedetto, 66, died in his sleep.

During his 32-year tenure, Benedetto amassed 196 wins, 13 district titles, 18 winning seasons, 17 postseason appearances and two trips to the regional finals. Benedetto, who celebrated his birthday Friday, is Pasco County’s winningest coach.

On Oct. 19, the Land O’ Lakes stadium was re-dedicated in his honor.

“There was not a more caring individual I knew than John,” former assistant and player under Benedetto Tom Carter said. “He was all about the kids, the players.”

House Speaker Will Weatherford once played for Benedetto and had this to say Monday afternoon:

“I am saddened by the passing of a family friend and a great high school football coach, John Benedetto. As a coach to my brothers and me, Coach Benedetto taught us lessons on the football field that have made a lasting impact on all of our lives. I am forever grateful to have called him a coach, a mentor and a friend. We will miss him, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Correspondent Mike Camunas can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on Twitter @MikeCamunas.

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