May 3—In a letter asking to be rehired, ousted football coach Eric Kasperowicz apologized to Pine-Richland's school board and administration for his "attitude and behavior" during a contentious late-March interview.
"In hindsight I understand the significance of that meeting," he wrote of a March 29 interview with high school administrators. "The items we were discussing reflected poorly on myself and my staff and I was not able to properly control my negative emotions. My conduct was not close to the level of professional discourse I expect from myself — nor those I supervise in my education career."
Kasperowicz shared his two-page letter on social media hours before the school board was scheduled to meet Monday night. He sent the letter last week.
The district decided to not renew his contract for a ninth season after an internal investigation found "a pattern of hazing, 'rites of passage,' and intimidation occurred in and around the locker room and stadium area for years." The investigation included a 2 1/2 -hour interview with Kasperowicz, during which, administrators said, the coach "expressed minimal concern for hazing or empathy for the students."
Athletic director Sean Simmons, principal Nancy Bowman and assistant principal Thomas Salopek interviewed Kasperowicz, former and current players, assistant coaches and parents. The three administrators signed an April 14 termination letter critical of Kasperowicz's "responses and demeanor" in their interview.
The district's letter quoted Kasperowicz as saying: "You aren't paying me enough to sit in the locker room and watch the kids." The administrators also said Kasperowicz "turned the questioning to Mrs. Bowman," asking about high school experiences under her leadership.
Kasperowicz responded in his letter.
"If a subordinate of mine would have acted similarly, I too would have drawn the same conclusions as you," Kasperowicz said. "I believe that my passion, productivity and perseverance serve a very useful purpose on and off the field, but my emotions sometimes get the better of me. I acutely recognize this now, and I am truly sorry for my behavior during the meetings."
In his letter, Kasperowicz also recommended creating a standard policy at Pine-Richland for locker room monitoring for all sports. The school administrators had criticized the football program for no consistent approach to locker room oversight.
"In my situation, had I or the district had a formal policy, it could have possibly prevented the incidents that led to the allegations you were presented with," he said.
Kasperowicz asked to "restart" the relationship between his coaching staff, the administration and others.
"I'm not expecting you to forget the words of myself and my staff, both in public and private," he said. "Similarly, those in the football community have strong personal feelings about recent events. I give you my word that I will strive to heal all wounds, take ownership for the whole of the football program, abide by the Pine-Richland mission, vision and values, and operate with clear thinking moving forward."
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .