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High School Football Coach Suspended for Recruiting

Andy Berg

A Pennsylvania high school football coach and his assistant coach have been suspended for allegedly recruiting players from other schools.

The Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League voted 12-0 to suspend Mauro Monz who was hired in November as the head coach of Seton LaSalle High School. Monz was put on two years of probation. Assistant Jason Pinkston was suspended for a year.

The WPIAL held a hearing on the matter after four schools — Bethel Park, Brownsville, Canon-McMillan and McGuffey — filed formal complaints against Seton LaSalle. All four schools were represented at the hearing.

“The board listened to testimony and the presentation of info, which supported the claims that this was not just hearsay,”WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “(The evidence) included that communications have happened.” 

Under PIAA rules, the penalty for any coach found guilty of recruiting is a suspension of at leasy one year.

Monz and Pinkston are prohibited from coaching any athletic team of a PIAA member school until March 30 of 2022.

After hearing testimony, Scheuneman said the board felt that Monz had violated a number of sections of the PIAA by-laws, ranging from encouraging the parents or relatives of an athlete to attend a school to play sports, and also meeting with athletes of a school, individually or as a group, to encourage them to enroll at a particular school. Another by-law that was allegedly violated was “athletic personnel” using a camp or clinic to “promote their own school.”

In a letter acknowledging the penalties imposed on Monz and Pinkston, Seton LaSalle said it does not engage in any recruiting. 

“As was stated at the hearing, neither Seton LaSalle, nor any high school in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, engages in the recruiting of students for athletic purposes,” the letter stated. “We are examining all basis for appealing this decision and will have more on that appeal in the near future.”

Keith Hartbauer, superintendent of Brownsville Area School District, was present at the hearing.

“I’m glad the system worked and the individuals making the decisions listened to the facts and were able to decipher through the facts and come to a conclusion,” Hartbauer said. “When it was brought to my attention at our level, we felt there was clear evidence that some type of tampering was going on. At that juncture, we notified the WPIAL. I also called Seton LaSalle to be on the up and up with them.”

This is the second time in a year that the WPIAL has suspended a Seton LaSalle coach for alleged recruiting. David Lee, a baseball assistant coach, was suspended for this season.

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