Posted: 7:02 pm Monday, October 24th, 2011

King’s Academy football coach Craig Dobson takes medical leave for remainder of the season 

By Jeff Greer

King’s Academy announced Monday head football coach Craig Dobson has stepped down for health reasons.


Reached by phone Monday night, Dobson, 51, said doctors told him he required immediate surgery to repair valve damage in his heart and could not postpone the operation until after the season. Reached by phone, Dobson said doctors told him he’d feel “a lot better” once he has the operation.

“Coach Dobson is an outstanding coach, mentor and friend,” King’s Academy Athletic Director Adam Winters wrote in a school release. “Our thoughts, support and prayers are with Craig and (his wife) Jennilee at this time.”

Dobson said King’s Academy was open to him returning as head coach once doctors clear him, though he didn’t have a timetable for post-surgery recovery. Defensive coordinator John James will coach the team, which is 4-3 and still in the playoff hunt, on an interim basis for the remainder of the season.

“It’s killing me, but it wasn’t my choice,” Dobson said. “At this time, I do plan on coming back to coaching when I get the OK. I want to coach football.”

Dobson has coached King’s Academy for six seasons, posting a 44-17 record and making four playoff appearances in that span. He coached rival Glades Day for six seasons before that, leading the Gators to two state semifinal berths after spending several years as an assistant at the Belle Glade private school.

In the early 1990s, Dobson visited Benjamin in search of an assistant coaching position. Benjamin coach Ron Ream, who considers Dobson a friend, referred the young coach to Glades Day coach Byron Walker. He spent years working alongside current Glades Day coach Pete Walker, who considers Dobson a close friend. The rest is history.

“That was my mistake. We didn’t have any positions for him at the time, but they loved him out at Glades Day,” Ream said. “We need coaches like him in Palm Beach County, even though I can’t beat him. He’s a man of great integrity, and I certainly wish him the best.”