Posted: 10:44 am Monday, January 9th, 2012

Alonzo Jefferson out as Palm Beach Lakes head football coach 

By Matt Porter

After a pair of tough seasons, Alonzo Jefferson and Palm Beach Lakes have parted ways.

Jefferson said he and school administrators met last week and agreed the move would be best for all parties.

“Change is good,” said Jefferson, who went 15-27 over four years. “I guess this is what’s best for everyone in the long run.”

Neither Palm Beach Lakes Principal Anthony Hamlet nor Athletic Director Don Smith immediately could be reached for comment.

After two playoff appearances in 2008 and 2009, the Rams struggled in the last two years.

Coming off a 7-4 season in 2009, Lakes lost five key returners due to transfer, family relocation or simply quitting football. The Rams were 2-8 in 2010 and last year’s 1-9 season, Lakes was outscored 365-95 and scored more than one touchdown in just three games.

Jefferson's team struggled to keep up during the last two seasons. (Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post)

Jefferson's team struggled to keep up during the last two seasons. (Taylor Jones/The Palm Beach Post)

“Many of the kids had never played football before,” Jefferson said. Before joining the team last season, senior Fred Taylor last played organized football at age 13. He was the Rams’ leading rusher and passer.

“Those kids kept working,” Jefferson said. “You look across the board, we weren’t very big, and we weren’t very fast, but we had kids that worked hard. But we didn’t have enough.”

In October, Jefferson’s Rams were profiled in part of the Post’s series on magnet programs in Palm Beach County.

Jefferson, 45, was an All-America tailback and The Post’s Offensive Player of the Year in 1982 when he played at Cardinal Newman. He played at Notre Dame but his career was derailed by a serious knee injury. He was inducted into the Palm Beach County Hall of Fame in 2004.

Jefferson had an impressive resume before joining Lakes. He was the offensive coordinator at Melbourne-Palm Bay when it won state championships in 2000 (6A) and 2002 (4A). The team went to the state semifinals four straight years (1999-03). He also coached at two other Melbourne schools, Central Catholic and Florida Air Academy.

From 2006-07, Jefferson was defensive coordinator at Cardinal Newman. Though that position is currently open, Jefferson said he currently has no interest in pursuing any football coaching position. He is an assistant boys track coach at Lakes, a role he says he will again fill this spring.

As for what’s next, Jefferson said he’ll enjoy more time with his family. “I’ve been coaching for 18 years. I just looked around and realized that,” he said. “At this point, I’m going to take a minute and see what happens.”

Despite the challenges of coaching football at Lakes, Jefferson said he leaves with good memories.

“It’s a great place to work,” he said. “There are great teachers here. We’ve got a great group of kids coming up. You’ve got to be patient with the kids. You’ve got to be patient with the parents. You’ve got to be patient with the community. They’ll come around. I believe that.”

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