Issaquah football coach Chris Bennett was informed late last month that he would not be retained for next season.
Coaches work off a year-to-year contract and Bennett said was taken by surprise when informed of the decision.
“To be honest, I was just told that my contract was not going to be renewed and when asked why, I wasn’t given a reason,” the three-time KingCo Coach of the Year said.
Issaquah athletic director Luke Ande declined to comment on the reasoning behind the decision. Ande said the decision was made by a group of people, although he declined to specify those who were involved.
“There’s a handful of things that are thought about and taken into account whenever making a decision like this,” Ande said.
Bennett has coached in some capacity at Issaquah for the past 14 years and won Coach of the Year awards as an assistant and a head coach from both the Washington State Coaches Association and National Football Foundation. He was named the KingCo Crown Coach of the Year this past season after leading Issaquah to a 6-4 record and a first-round playoff loss at Union.
“I think it’s a real shock for most people in the football community, as well,” Bennett said. “Not only at our school, but from around the league and all leagues and people I know. I’ve been super successful and super proud of what was built at Issaquah. We built our program into one of the most competitive programs in the state year in and year out.
“A lot of great people that I’ve been fortunate to work with there and a lot of great players and families that I’ve become real close with over the years. There’s such a sense of pride and accomplishment from all those players and families and community. It’s caught everyone off guard, including myself.”
Bennett said he has been offered assistant jobs at a few other programs, but has yet to decide how he would like to move forward. He is also interested in possibly being a head coach again.
Issaquah posted the head coach opening on the WIAA website on Monday. Ande said he prefers to hire someone as soon as possible, but will not rush the process and has no timetable.
“We wish him the best,” Ande said, “and look forward to see what he does in the future.”