Pine-Richland says firing of coach came after months-long investigation

GIBSONIA, Pa. — Before Tuesday, the Pine-Richland School District had very little to say about the firing of football coach Eric Kasperowicz, which caused a lot of community backlash.

But on Tuesday, the district said the firing of the entire Pine-Richland High School football staff last week was a result of a three month long investigation into allegations of misconduct within the football program.

“Over a period of three months, an investigation was conducted into specific allegations of inappropriate student conduct and a broader allegation of misconduct within the football program, including, but not limited to hazing, bullying, intimidation and ‘rites of passage,’” a statement from the Pine-Richland School Board of Directors said.

During the investigation, interviews were conducted with dozens of students, coaches and parents. That included an in-depth interview with Kasperowicz.

For legal and confidentiality reasons, School Board President Peter Lyons could not go into detail on findings, but said the administration and all nine members of the school board decided not to renew Kasperowicz’s contract.

“Coach Kasperowicz received a letter outlining the findings and recommendation for non-renewal with an opportunity to respond. The letter can be shared by Coach Kasperowicz. Any statement indicating that no reason was given for the district’s actions is categorically false,” the statement from the Pine-Richland School Board of Directors said.

The statement concluded with:

“The district is aware of, and acknowledges, the successful winning record of the program and its importance to many student-athletes. We are saddened by what we see happening in the community as a result of perpetuated misinformation. We understand the community’s desire for full transparency and have made a consistent effort to balance that against the legal duty that the district has to preserve the confidentiality of personnel information. The district will continue to move forward with decisions and actions that align to the mission, vision and values. The district will continue to release additional specific communications regarding this matter.” (CLICK HERE to read the full statement).

On Wednesday, the Pine-Richland School District addressed what it called “a misconception” that the district in some way failed to meet reporting requirements with law enforcement. Officials assured the district “is fully compliant with all required notifications, including to state and local authorities like the Northern Regional Police Department. The Pine-Richland School District satisfied all reporting obligations.”

Northern Regional Police Chief John Sicilia shared the following statement:

“The Northern Regional Police Department and the Pine-Richland School District has a long-standing solid relationship which has spanned many administrations on both sides. One of the key factors in this relationship is a well thought out and clearly defined Memorandum of Understanding between both entities. This document is frequently reviewed and updated to keep current with changes in laws and to reflect the concerns of the public both organizations serve. As like similar guiding documents, not all scenarios can be accounted for and for this reason we rely heavily on the ‘common sense’ approach as to when the Northern Regional Police Department would need to be notified to intervene if not specifically spelled out. To date, the current Pine-Richland Administration, specifically Dr. Brian Miller has been proactive in collaborating with the Police Department and working together to decide how an investigation should be handled. I have the utmost confidence Dr. Miller will continue to consult with the Police Department when school investigations transcend into a criminal investigation. I look forward to continuing the strong relationship between the Police Department and the School District. It is our hope most incidents are handled within the School District and do not rise to the level of a criminal investigation.”