Peters Police Investigating Football Program

Documents are being turned over to Chief Harry Fruecht's office regarding accusations against high school head football coach Rich Piccinini.

The Post-Gazette is reporting that are investigating the football program after receiving a complaint Wednesday from the county's Children and Youth Services Department. 

Chief Fruecht told the newspaper his department launched an investigation yesterday after receiving a complaint from CYS that "an alleged perpetrator is permitting children to play sports with concussions or concussion-like symptoms."

Last week, the renewed Piccinini's 2012-13 contract in a 6-3 vote. ; an email circulated to all parents involved in the program the week prior.

A lengthy exchange, forwarded to Peters Patch—between Mark Mortland of  and district Superintendent Nina Zetty—discussed alleged claims of injured players being forced to play and alleged verbal abuse by Piccinini.

Mortland, who's provided athletic training to the district since 2003, wrote, “What I personally witnessed was the most deplorable, disrespectful and disgraceful behavior from a head coach in any sport I have ever seen. I have been providing athletic training services to high schools, college and professional sporting teams for 25 years and have never seen anything like this year’s head football coach.”

Zetty replied saying she immediately took the issue to Athletic Director Brian Geyer and high school Principal Lori Pavlik following Mortland’s first email sent Nov. 30.

Zetty also said Mortland’s accusations are, “in some cases, second-hand” and she questioned why he waited until the season was over to report the claims.

In Thursday's Post-Gazette, Mortland called into question Piccinini's judgment, saying the coach undermined athletic trainers who were treating players with concussions, broken bones and other injuries.

Chief Fruecht told the paper his department also will interview athletic trainers and Geyer.

Editor's Note: Fruecht, Zetty nor Piccinini could be reached for comment immediately. Check back with Peters Patch for more details.

Recap last week's school board meeting . 

Roger January 26, 2012 at 06:39 PM
The list of reasons to move sports out of public schools continues to grow.
Isayit January 26, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Peters Township football has been an absolute joke for the past decade. Parents are ridiculous, they are never satisfied with anything, politics plays a huge role in that township. You would think that most moms and dads of teenage football players have better things to do with their lives than too worry about their sons playing time all day every day. People wonder why that damn team can never win, its because when a coach yells at a kid or tries to make him tougher he runs home tells his high class stuck up parents that the coach yelled at me today. Then the parent(s) go to the school board complain and then here we go again...PT has a losing season, that coach is fired and the search begins for a new one. Joe Guddenbur was fired because of it. coaches should listen to trainers don't get me wrong, trainers know the human body like the coach knows football. They should work together to keep kids safe. But the stuck parents in PT are a damn joke.
Tom January 26, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I am a senior at PTHS this year and just completed my 13th year of football and am now headed to play college ball next year. First off, I had not attended Peters my whole life, I moved here four years ago but one of the first things I noticed regarding the football program and its coaches was how laid back everything was and the absence of that "hard nosed", disciplined style of football that is so abundent in most of the other competetive schools in the area. With that in mind, yes, I do believe that coach pic was exactly what we needed to "change the culture" and bring in that new sence of disciplined, "hard nosed" football. With that said I did completely disagree with the degree of reprimand he used when players would mess up. However in terms of playing injured kids, I think that coach pic never had the intention of forcing a kid to play knowing their situation could have been worsened having done so. I feel that he was simply trying to push kids past where they thought their mental and physical limits were and closer to where their actual limits are, thus all the complaints coming from everyone and their mother (pun intended). Do I believe he played kids knowing they could have been hurt more severly?-no. Do I feel he may have done so truly believing he wasnt putting anyon in danger?-yes. Like I said before I simply believe that he was trying to push kids closer to their realistic limits and potential while bringin in that sence of hard nosed football we need to...
Tom January 26, 2012 at 09:59 PM
turn our program around. Yea, in a bit of a reduced form, i believe coach Pic is what we need to be a successful, highly competetive program in the years to come and I do believe that some of the folks around here simply need to have faith in the change of the program and see the good in it from a disciplinary, toughness standpoint. Oh and to the other guy with the long comment, Im an all conference d tackle and would do anything for any of my indian brothers including stick up for them in the face of immature critisism....come at me bro.
Tom January 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Listen to how dumb you sound..."move sports out of public schools" Oh so take the one thing out of school that gives the kids their sence of individuality and drive to excitement to be there in the first place. Yea education is good but letss be honest, it isnt what kids look forward to ona daily basis....its the schools sports and sence of belonging that comes with those sports that truly unites the student body. Plus kids know what theyre getting into when they sign up as do their parents. #stopbeingapussy
Roger January 26, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Tom, if it is sports that drive our students to excitement, and the way to find themselves, we are in deeper trouble than I thought. There are some very good character building aspects to sports. But, the focus has been allowed to get way out of hand. It has become the focal point. How many times per year do we see the community get involved (like this scene) with academic work? We see sports driving the schools. We see huge money spent on athletic facilities, when the taxpayers are expecting to have their children schooled. Our students need to find their self-worth in places other than sports. The aftermath of sports wears off pretty quickly. Appetite for learning is a lifelong skill that will near wear off. When many high schools are unable to have the graduating class meet Grade 12 requirements, and when the most challenging problem for colleges is remedial work for incoming freshmen, the markers are in place for change. Elimination of sports through the public school system is a good place to start those changes. Twenty years ago, our schools were much different, and were able to handle sports programs. Now, not so much (witness the referenced meeting). There are other sports that are club sports. Those who wish to participate organize, manage, and fund the programs. There is nothing unique that requires groundbreaking. [Just for the record, sense, not sence.]
Lebowski January 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Maybe we should hire coaches with honor and integrity. Trust needs to be earned. Maybe parents dont trust the coaches. Sports seems to be ruled by self-interest these days. Coaches are more interested in their own win/loss record than what is best for the kids. Daddy ball is the name of the game at the PTJFA. Peters football program is broke because it has no honor or integrity from the ground up. By the time kids get to the High School level most kids dont want to play, and dont show up to watch the games. Have you noticed we dont have many seniors playing football or basketball this year. Why is that?
Lebowski January 27, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Tom it is admirable that you are defending your coach. However, from a parents perspective, I think we have a better understanding of what is acceptable conduct from a Hign School coach. Putting kids long-term health in jeopardy to win a game is not hard nosed, it is dangerous, irresponsible and unacceptable.
Mike January 27, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Roger sounds like a band geek. PT football is a joke because parents like YOU Roger have imparted souch a sense of entitlement that the kids have no drive, guts or determination. You make me sick
Mike January 27, 2012 at 01:44 PM
further it's kind of funny how at the PTJFA level our football teams win championships year after year in ALL levels, but when they get to the point where Peters Township School takes over (7th grade) the wheels fall off. Parent's you are not doing your kid any favors by constantly running to the board because your kid is not good enough to start. Enroll them in Seton or Central Catholic and see how good they are. Sickening behavior by a small group of adults who are throwing a fit because Johnny does not play enought. If you think this issue is about anything other then a few disgruntled jag offs, get your head out of the sand.
Lebowski January 27, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mike you sound like a true football fan. Consequently I probably need to let you know that "fan" is short for fanatic. BTW, I dont look for other adults to teach my kids drive, guts and determination, I teach that to them myself. I also teach my kids to live in a bigger universe than the sports world.
Lebowski January 27, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Mike, you sound like you are part of the daddy ball crowd. I am also impressed with your insults. You must have been on your high schoool's debate team, right? Let me try to understand your arguement. It falls apart at 7th grade because independent coaches (not Daddys) are making the decisions as who is to play? Maybe it is that kids have had enough Daddy ball by the time they get to 7th grade and that there are other sports to play and it is not worth playing football any more. Funny how our hockey and soccer programs dont seem to have a problem winning. You should go to the High School and see how many 6 foot boys dont play football.
Mike January 27, 2012 at 02:18 PM
daddy ball crowd? Trust me I don't run in those circles. I've just been lucky to live somewhere besides McMurray and Venetia for the majority of my life. And you are correct, why is it the soccer, golf, baseball, hockey teams have a degree of sucess? It's because mendlesome parents don't demand a change in coach every 2 or 3 years. I've lived in this township for 6 years and we are on our 3rd football coach. Your ignorance of the MS football program is obvious. 30+ kids with one coach and one assitant is an indication to the importance this district places on fielding a winning team and ensuring player safety. They play on a field that resembles a cow pasture that does not have a restroom with running water. Pathetic. And the reasons all those 6 foot tall boys don't want to play ball is because the program at the high school level is a joke.
Roger January 27, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Mike, I am doubting you read my post above. Your response does not speak to anything that was posted. Lots of kids have passed through elementary ages, and teen years, without having lined fields, scoreboards, concession stands, restrooms, uniforms, lights, loudspeakers, and bleachers. They have done just fine. Some people need to learn to focus on important things in the lives of their children, and being sure they get playing time is NOT one of those things.
PT fan January 27, 2012 at 06:03 PM
It interesting all the comments are about the football program and the coaches. Mortland is the person who is stirring the pot and is a hypocrite! His personal and professional life is marked by behavior that is "deplorable, disrepectful and disgraceful" his quote about the PT program. Look in the mirror Mark!
Andrea Bosco (Editor) January 29, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Hi everyone, just a friendly reminder: Patch believes in transparency, and we ask that all your registration information be truthful. You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity. Read our full Terms of Use here: http://peters.patch.com/terms. Thanks, as always, for your readership!
Anthony Brown January 30, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Andrea- Interpret that please for those of us operating at minimum capacity. For instance, above you will see posts from - PTfan, Lebowski, Tom, etc.. Are you saying that as long as you register under that "name"- you are OK ? OR- do you need to register and post under your true legal name ? I can see how some would not want to do that and hence, hinder discussion.
Andrea Bosco (Editor) January 30, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Anthony, Patch encourages people to register under their own names and use their true identity while posting. Knowing who is posting allows for a more truthful conversation in comments.
Anthony Brown January 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Still lost- you said: "You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity. " I agree with your reply above in regards to truth- but now you are saying "encourages". I am more in the dark on the policy at this point than when I started.


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