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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Blaine Bennett has been fired as the football coach at Division II Central Washington just days before the Wildcats begin fall camp.

The school announced the decision Friday. Long-time assistant John Picha has been appointed to be the Wildcats' interim head coach.

Athletic director Dennis Francois said the school chose to move in another direction and that a national search for a permanent head coach would start after the season.

Bennett was hired in 2008 after Beau Baldwin left to become head coach at Eastern Washington. Bennett was 41-16 in his five seasons as Central's coach. No reason was given by the school for Bennett's firing.

Picha joined the football staff as a graduate assistant in 1988 and played for the school in 1986 and 1987.



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