Joe Piro, the highly respected high school athletic director who evoked Adolf Hitler during a speech on leadership, has been suspended.
As athletic director at Nutley High School, Piro, 47, is considered among New Jersey's most prominent prep athletics administrators, having influenced policy impacting the entire state. He currently serves as president of the 113-member Super Football Conference he helped create.
While speaking at a high school outside his own district March 16, Piro paired photographs of Hitler and Martin Luther King Jr. and described the former as a "good leader" with "bad moral character and intentions."
At a special district meeting Monday, Piro was suspended for an indefinite period of time. According to a meeting agenda on the Nutley Public Schools website, superintendent Julie Glazer can reinstate Piro following completion of a reentry plan.
As reported by nj.com, several prominent state athletic officials attended Monday's meeting to speak in support of Piro, including recently retired New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Timko.
Others who spoke on behalf of Piro included Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey president Denis Nelson and past DAANJ president Bill Edelman, as well as Sean Dowling, athletic director at Madison High School, where Piro made the controversial comments.
"It was an excellent show of support for Joe," Bloomfield High School athletic director Steve Jenkins told nj.com Tuesday. "I couldn't help but be troubled because I felt like Nutley never really investigated before they suspended him. I know we're in this social media era where everything happens so quickly, but I thought last night was premature."