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CANFIELD SCHOOLS Threat prompts baseball coach to fight for job



Published: Tue, July 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The superintendent says he hasn't made a recommendation about the junior varsity baseball coach.

By IAN HILL

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- Sam Pitzulo wasn't going to argue with the members of the Canfield Board of Education. Then he got to work Monday morning and listened to his messages.

"Get the .... out of Canfield before I run your ass out," said a man's scratchy voice on the answering machine. The message was left at Pitzulo's Canfield business at 3:10 a.m. Saturday.

Pitzulo has served as the Canfield High School junior varsity baseball coach during the last five seasons. He feels the school board doesn't want him back for next season.

"Now that I'm being threatened, I am 100 percent sure that I will not back down," said Pitzulo, "I am not going to bow out gracefully."

Pitzulo has not decided what action he will take if the board decides not to bring him back.

Discussion pending: The board discussed Pitzulo during an executive session last Wednesday. Schools Superintendent Douglas Hiscox said he hasn't made any recommendations regarding Pitzulo's future. He would not discuss what happened during the executive session.

Hiscox said he will make a recommendation on the baseball staff at a school board meeting July 18. He added that Pitzulo is a volunteer who does not have a contract with the school board.

Pitzulo said he has donated his coaching salary back to the baseball program at the high school. He said he's surprised someone would make threats in a dispute over a contract for a high school baseball coach.

He said he called Canfield police after hearing the message Monday morning.

"This is just baseball," Pitzulo said. "All this is about baseball."

Opponents: Pitzulo has said he thinks three "influential people" have asked Hiscox not to bring him back: board member Chuck Eddy, board lawyer Marshall Buck, and Jack Kucek, a former assistant varsity coach at the high school.

Buck, Kucek and Eddy, meanwhile, each said they have nothing to do with the board's decisions on Pitzulo.

Eddy's son and Kucek's son were members of the junior varsity team last season, and Buck's son played on the freshman squad. Kucek and Eddy were concerned that their sons were not getting enough playing time, Pitzulo said, while Buck was worried about his son's prospects on the junior varsity next year.

hill@vindy.com




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