After controversial firing, Pa. prep football coach seeks 'resolution' with school

CHRIS HARLAN
The (Greensburg) Tribune Review (TNS)
Students gather in front of Pine-Richland High School rallying in support of the fired head football coach Eric Kasperowicz Friday, Apr. 16, 2021, in Richland Twp., Pa. (Pam Panchak/Post-Gazette via AP)

With students, parents and community members demanding Pine-Richland rehire Eric Kasperowicz, the ousted football coach has asked school administrators to meet with him and "come to a resolution quickly."

The Pine-Richland football coach and his assistants were fired last Wednesday. Kasperowicz re-applied for the school's head coach position Friday and also sent a letter to the district's solicitor requesting a meeting with administrators.

An advisor for Kasperowicz, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent the letter to Pine-Richland solicitor Don Palmer on Friday, asking to have an in-person sit down with Pine-Richland superintendent Brian Miller and any other "P-R persons of administrative authority."

"The reason is that we can see things are out of control," the letter reads. "We would like to help come to a resolution quickly to help prevent further distractions and embarrassment.

"If our main goal is the kids in the community, we think it is imperative that we work together to figure something out ASAP."

Kasperowicz confirmed Friday that he reapplied for the job, two days after the district opened his position to applicants. Pine-Richland went 85-18 in eight seasons under Kasperowicz with four WPIAL championships and two state titles.

The administration's decision to replace the coaching staff stirred controversy in the community. Pine-Richland students rallied Friday morning outside the high school in support of Kasperowicz.

The school district in recent weeks had investigated allegations of possible hazing or bullying associated with the team, said current and former football players who were questioned by administrators. However, the district has not confirmed the investigation and declined to explain why Kasperowicz's contract wasn't renewed.

Over the weekend, dozens of WPIAL football coaches and others across the state, posted social media messages of support for Kasperowicz.

Many of the tweets were in response to an email sent by Gateway athletic director/football coach Don Holl, who urged his colleagues to not apply for the open job. Holl sent his email to fellow members of the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association.

"What happened at school (Friday) made national news and it stained PR's reputation as a model school district," the letter also read. "There is a lot of 'mud slinging' taking place, and we think that if we (both sides) have a mutual understanding and move forward, we can start to heal some wounds.

"We want to help end this so that the kids can focus and finish out the school year. If clarity is not had soon, this issue will have a negative and lasting impact on the community and especially the kids."

Pine-Richland's director of communications Rachel Hatthorn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.