PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Pine-Richland football coach is firing back after being let go.
On Wednesday, Pine-Richland head football coach Eric Kasperowicz and his entire coaching staff learned they would not return in the fall.READ MORE: Man Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter In Deadly Knoxville Shooting
According to assistant coach Todd Jochem, this was a move to get coaches who senior administrators and some school board members want. Jochem said the football coaches take hazing seriously, and there were no incidents ever reported to him.
“You know what ruling by power and control is? Bullying,” Jochem said.
The coach of 10 years believed the investigation was intended to clean house. He claims some senior leaders in the district hated the coaching staff.
“Senior administrators have said those words to us, that others in the administration hate Eric and they hate the program,” Jochem told KDKA.
In a statement Thursday, Kasperowicz said hazing and bullying were never tolerated.
“I was informed yesterday that my coaching contract will not be renewed. I am disappointed by this decision and want to unequivocally state that no bullying or hazing took place in the Pine-Richland football program under my watch. I never condoned any bullying or hazing. If I became aware of any such claims I met with the individuals and immediately put an end to it. I addressed and resolved these infrequent events over my 8-year tenure internally within the team. The players and coaches were made aware of my zero tolerance for this type of behavior. Certainly, if bullying or hazing had occurred under my watch, I would have followed proper reporting procedures as I have always done throughout my professional career. I want to thank all my supporters who know the safety and well-being of students is and will always be my utmost priority.”
“Bullying and hazing are crimes,” Jochem told KDKA on Thursday. “Those are serious words that our administration is using to describe what happened, and that offends me.”READ MORE: Coraopolis Police Searching For Missing 23-Year-Old Miasinque Smith
The Pine Richland School District offered this statement:
“The Pine-Richland School District does not comment on personnel matters. The Pine-Richland Athletic Department will be advertising for the position of varsity head football coach. The team has earned on-the-field success. The athletic department recognizes the time, energy, and expertise invested by the entire coaching staff.”
According to Jochem, the hazing investigation lasted about six to eight weeks. He said some football players were told interviews would be in one-on-one settings. But the players showed up and three to four administrators were on the call.
“It’s is beyond belief,” Jochem said. “That just feeds into the narrative they were fishing for something.”
Jochem feels the district didn’t like football and academics sharing the spotlight.
WATCH: More With Todd Jochem
“They think Pine-Richland needs to be about academics and that drives me crazy,” he said.
KDKA reached out to the Northern Regional Police Department and they have no reports of hazing involving the football team. KDKA also reached out to the school board and received no response.MORE NEWS: Fayette County Priest Andrew Kawecki Pleads No Contest To Charges Of Repeatedly Sexually Assaulting Altar Boy
According to the district’s website, there is a special school board meeting on Friday, when a board member will be resigning.