Seton LaSalle coaches Mauro Monz, Jason Pinkston suspended 1 year by WPIAL

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021 | 1:29 PM


Seton LaSalle football coach Mauro Monz and assistant Jason Pinkston are suspended from coaching any PIAA-affiliated team for one year, the WPIAL announced Wednesday.

Neither had yet to coach a game at Seton.

The discipline comes a day after four school districts raised recruiting allegations against Seton LaSalle’s first-year coaching staff during a lengthy closed-door hearing with the WPIAL.

Monz and Pinkston were hired in November.

Along with the two suspensions, Seton LaSalle principal Lauren Martin and the school’s administration were publicly admonished by the WPIAL “for their lack of institutional oversight.” This latest discipline comes seven months after the WPIAL also suspended a Seton LaSalle assistant baseball coach for recruiting violations. As a result, the WPIAL decided Wednesday to place the school’s entire athletics program on probation until June 30, 2023.

The WPIAL panel that heard Tuesday’s testimony voted 12-0 to impose the discipline.

“The board felt very strongly about this collectively,” WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said. “Two thirds of our board was there (for the hearing) and felt this way. I think that’s a strong indication that they do not want to see this continue.”

Seton LaSalle administrators must create a plan to educate their coaches on the PIAA bylaws and coaching handbook. Additional penalties will be imposed if future recruiting violations come to light, the WPIAL said, which could include “the suspension of all or some Seton LaSalle athletic programs from competing against other PIAA member schools.”

In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said the Diocese and Seton LaSalle “take seriously the concerns raised by the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League,” but added that “neither Seton LaSalle, nor any high school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, engages in recruiting athletes for athletic purposes.”

“As a result, we are examining all bases for appealing this decision,” the Diocese said.

Seton LaSalle can appeal to the PIAA.

Monz, a 1992 Seton LaSalle graduate, was hired to coach a football program that went 3-13 combined in the past two seasons. He’s coached for more than two decades as an assistant at the college and high school levels, and was briefly head coach at Carlynton in 2014.

Pinkston played football for Pitt and the Cleveland Browns, and joined Seton LaSalle as the team’s offensive line coach.

Monz and Pinkston did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The allegations largely involved contact with athletes from other schools or their families, and the decision to host football clinics this winter. Scheuneman said the WPIAL board found the coaches in violation of items No. 5, 7, 9 and 13 under Article 6, Section 9 of the PIAA bylaws.

Those items prohibit:

• Encouraging the parents or relatives of an athlete, to influence the student to enroll at a school to play sports there.

• Meeting with athletes of a school to encourage them to enroll at a particular school.

• An athletic personnel directly or through another person, encouraging a student or the parents of a student to have the student enroll at the school.

• Organizing, leading or participating in a sports camp or clinic, and using that event to promote their school.

Bethel Park, Brownsville, Canon-McMillan and McGuffey submitted the recruiting allegations to the WPIAL. They all made similar claims in Tuesday’s hearing, Scheuneman said.

The WPIAL did not discipline Seton LaSalle assistant coach Will Dodson, who also faced questions Tuesday. Dodson operates a 7-on-7 football program. The WPIAL found no rules violations, but Scheuneman said “we’ve made Seton LaSalle aware that his affiliation should be monitored.”

Dodson said he provided the WPIAL a list with more than 300 current and former players from his program.

“I gave them the contact information for those parents and players and said feel free to call any one of them to verify if any inappropriate conversations had ever been had,” Dodson said. “They did their diligence, and they came back and said, yeah, all of this stuff that’s associated with you is pretty much garbage.”

The WPIAL also included no Seton LaSalle athletes in Wednesday’s discipline.

“Currently, there were no students who were identified in our findings that would be penalized for this particular situation,” Scheuneman said. “Now, if transfers happen in the future, they will be reviewed through the same process, as we always do.”

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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