WPIAL ‘publicly censures’ Woodland Hills basketball coach Matt Furjanic for tweet

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | 5:11 PM

Woodland Hills boys basketball coach Matt Furjanic tweets mostly about presidential politics to his 436 Twitter followers, but the WPIAL found one of his other posts more controversial.

The WPIAL board decided Wednesday that Furjanic should be publicly admonished for using social media to question a technical foul called against him last week. The board voted to censure Furjanic — an expression of public disapproval — but left any further discipline such as suspension to Woodland Hills’ administration, WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said.

PIAA sportsmanship rules prohibit coaches from criticizing contest officials “through the media or to student-athletes or spectators, rather than through the appropriate review process.”

Scheuneman said this could serve as an example for coaches “to prevent future negative comments.” However, she added that the WPIAL doesn’t want to get involved with the “policing of social media.”

“Their schools need to make their coaches aware that it’s not a forum that they should be using to address complaints,” she said. “They need to use the appropriate channels.”

In this situation, a coach should talk with their athletic director, she said, and the athletic director could contact the individual who assigns officials.

Furjanic said he was assessed a technical foul during the first quarter of Friday’s game at Gateway for saying: “Dammit. That’s steps.” After the game, he searched online to see whether his exclamation was considered a curse word and found the web labeled it a “mild imprecation.”

On Twitter, Furjanic suggested the WPIAL provide a list of banned words.

In his tweet, he wrote: “I got a T for Dammit. My Mom used to say that & she never cursed. Seems HS officials can be subjective in this rule. Needs clarity. If I put God in front I see. My Mother never said those 2 together. Maybe a list of words should be given out.”

Furjanic tagged the WPIAL’s official Twitter account in the tweet.

According to testimony at Wednesday’s hearing, he also sent an email with online definitions to the officials involved in the game and to the chapter secretary who assigns officials. Furjanic acknowledged during the hearing that he used poor discretion.

Woodland Hills must submit a plan to the WPIAL that “outlines preventative measures, education sessions and informational documents that they’ll provide to their staffs to make sure coaches are aware of expectations and how to address complaints,” Scheuneman said.

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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