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Standout running back is blocked from game

Bears' Tim Gaynor suspended by coach for violating team policy.

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002

BROOKSVILLE -- Junior running back Tim Gaynor, among the state's top returning rushers, was suspended from Central's spring game on Friday and faces a summer of extra work to retain his roster spot.

Gaynor, who amassed a county-best 1,769 yards and 19 touchdowns, was warned by new head coach John Wilkinson soon after spring practice began May 1 that the athlete was not adhering to his policies.

After an undisclosed punishment, Gaynor quit the team May 6, returned the next day after apologizing to Wilkinson and the squad, then was suspended after violating policy again last Friday.

Wilkinson met with Gaynor and his mother before issuing the suspension. The coach said the violations ranged from lateness to meetings and practices to poor classroom behavior.

Gaynor was on the Bears' sideline Friday night during the scrimmage against Crystal River.

"The first time, I made a mistake. The second time, I guess I deserved it," Gaynor said. "Coach is strict, but everything is okay."

Wilkinson's action, although it comes against an entrenched starter in a game that does not count, could be a warning of strict times at Central.

"It doesn't matter who you are. You do what's the right thing for the team or you will not be on the team," Wilkinson said.

"I'm sorry it happened to Tim. It upsets me," the coach said. "We've got some good kids who have towed the line from the first day, and I want them to know the rules apply to everyone -- no matter who you are."

Gaynor has to prove himself over the summer, Wilkinson said, with satisfactory completion of a team-mandatory conditioning program. Gaynor has extra work to do to make up for missed practice and game time.

"If he follows all the summer conditioning programs like everyone else, he'll do okay," Wilkinson said.

Gaynor refuted rumors that he has considered transferring to Hernando, where his cousin, sophomore Jagren Castillo, is the starting running back.

"I'm not transferring anywhere," Gaynor said. "I'm just suspended for one game."

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