Berwick's storied football program shut down for internal investigation
Berwick superintendent Wayne Brookhart announced Tuesday he's suspending all football operations for two weeks effective immediately because of an internal investigation.
According to Brookhart, the focus of the investigation is the transfer status of two student-athletes.
According to multiple sources, two student-athletes left Nanticoke Area in April and enrolled in Berwick. The Citizens' Voice confirmed the information through two sources, a football source and an administration source, who both wished not to be identified because of the ongoing investigation.
"I suspended the program for two weeks due to a challenge of a transfer (to Berwick)," Brookhart said Tuesday afternoon. "We are doing an internal investigation. I feel there is sufficient evidence that warrants more evaluation of the situation, and prompted more questioning. We definitely want to do an in-house review of the allegations we received."
Brookhart declined to discuss any of those allegations.
Berwick head coach George Curry did not return calls seeking comment regarding the investigation.
It's against PIAA rules to transfer for athletic purposes.
If one or both principals from the schools involved in a transfer elect not to sign off on the principal-to-principal waiver, a hearing in front of the District 2 athletic committee is necessary if the transferring students intend to participate in athletics at the receiving school.
District 2 chairman Frank Majikes did not return calls seeking comment regarding the athletic committees role, if any, in the investigation By shutting down all football operations, the Berwick football program will be forced to stop its off-season conditioning program during the two weeks. Those workouts consist of weight lifting, conditioning and agility drills. While conducting these workouts, players are permitted to wear helmets and shoulder pads.
Teams can do football-related drills, but no contact of any type is permitted.
Brookhart indicated the two-week ban does not cover football coach Curry's quarterback camp. The camp is scheduled for May 23 at Crispin Field.
"The investigation is ongoing and I feel we need more time to conclude it," Brookhart said. "There are still some things that are necessary for us to learn. It is important to take care of our own house. We don't want to rush to judgement, we want to make sure we have all the facts."
Prior to the shutdown, Curry was preparing for his 46th year coaching high school football and his 39th at Berwick. He is the all-time winningest high school football coach in the state with a record of 446-100-5. His record at Berwick is 395-79-3.
Curry began his coaching career at Lake-Lehman before going to Berwick. He coached 35 consecutive years at Berwick, leading the Dawgs to six PIAA Class AAA championships, with the last coming in 1997. Curry stepped down from Berwick following the 2005 seasons, stating that "35 years in one place is a long time."
After leaving Berwick he became the head coach at Valley West for three seasons before stepping away.
Gary Campbell Jr. succeeded Curry at Berwick and guided the program for six seasons. Campbell resigned from Berwick in the spring 2012 to take a job at Wahconah High School in Massachusetts.
From there, Curry took over in June and guided the program to three consecutive trips to the district championship game appearance, winning the title in 2013.
That year the Dawgs advanced to the East Final where they were eliminated by Archbishop Wood.