Pine-Richland fires football coach Eric Kasperowicz 5 months after winning state title

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | 9:09 PM


In the span of eight years, Pine-Richland football coach Eric Kasperowicz built the Rams into one of the WPIAL’s best programs with four WPIAL championships and two state titles.

Stunningly, that run ended Wednesday.

Only five months removed from their latest state championship celebration, the team’s coaches received an email from school administrators informing them Kasperowicz was being replaced and the assistants would be let go as well, according to a source.

The Rams went 85-18 under Kasperowicz.

The decision to fire him comes as school administrators spent recent weeks questioning current and former football players about allegations of hazing or misconduct.

Kasperowicz was scheduled to meet with school administrators at 8 p.m. Wednesday but was fired prior. He declined comment in the afternoon and couldn’t be reached after the school took action.

Phone and email messages left for athletic director Sean Simmons and other school administrators were not returned.

Simmons is leaving Pine-Richland this summer to become athletic director at Shady Side Academy. Pine-Richland assistant principal T.J. Salopek was chosen Monday to replace Simmons.

An email from Simmons informed Kasperowicz’s assistant coaches of his removal and told them they could reapply when a new coach was hired, according to a source.

Kasperowicz teaches at his alma mater North Hills.

“This will probably be one of worst firings in WPIAL history,” Pine-Richand senior Charlie Mill said. “I don’t know how you can fire a guy who wins two state championships.”

Mill and senior Cole Spencer said they were among the players interviewed by school administrators. They said some of the allegations were from before they entered high school, and both said they never witnessed anything alarming.

“To my knowledge, nothing really crossed the line with players doing things to other players,” Spencer said. “It was always between two best friends messing around. It was never anything that crossed the line. But I guess maybe other people said and saw otherwise.”

Mill agreed.

“Not one time in my Pine-Richland career did I see anything where I said, ‘This is real bad,’” Mill said. “I think a couple of instances that (administrators were asking about) weren’t even at the school. Some of the complaints happened at the cafeteria. And a lot of these allegations were when I was in middle school.”

Spencer, a Penn wrestling commit, and Mill, an Elon football recruit, said they were each questioned more than once. Their most recent interviews were in March.

Spencer said he was asked specifically about hazing.

“I said, ‘No. It was friendly games between best friends,’” he said. “It was never two seniors tag-teaming a sophomore and throwing him into the shower.”

Mill said he was interviewed on Zoom.

“They were using the word ‘hazing’ and throwing in ‘nudity’ and ‘uncomfortable,’” Mill said. “I was like, I’ve never seen any of this stuff ever.”

Former players, including 2018 graduate Jordan Crawford, came to Kasperowicz’s defense on social media. Spencer said Crawford also was interviewed by administrators.

“The man brought in the best staff in the state,” Crawford wrote on Twitter. “All they ever did was care for their players, treated them like their own kids and made a difference in our (lives). Thank you for everything you did!!”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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