Sam Pitzulo thinks more than 100 of his supporters will be at tonight's meeting.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Sam Pitzulo was speechless.
"I don't know what to say," Pitzulo said when told that Canfield schools Superintendent Douglas Hiscox has confirmed he will recommend that Pitzulo not return as junior varsity baseball coach.
The Canfield school board is expected to vote on Hiscox's recommendations during a meeting at 6 tonight in the board offices.
Pitzulo estimated that more than 100 local residents will attend the meeting to show their support for him.
"If you're asking if he's coming back, no, he's not," Hiscox said of Pitzulo. "He's not being recommended."
Five-year volunteer: Pitzulo has volunteered as Canfield's junior varsity baseball coach during the last five seasons. He said he did not want to comment further on the recommendations until after tonight's meeting.
The school board discussed Pitzulo at their June meeting. Pitzulo said that during an executive session that night some school board members said they had received complaints that he did not communicate well with parents. He said that as a result, the board indicated that they did not want him back next year.
Hiscox said he will officially recommend tonight that Todd Thorne, who served as assistant varsity baseball coach last year, Brian Finnigan, Alan Thorne, Dave Arnold, and Ed DeAngelo return to the coaching staff from last year. In addition, Hiscox will recommend that Tony Ross serve as the new varsity baseball coach.The varsity coach will be paid $3,832, while the junior varsity coach will receive $2,737 and the freshman coach will be paid $2,464. Because Pitzulo was a volunteer, he did not get paid.
Ross, the former head football coach at Canfield High School, will replace Lee Frey, who was promoted to athletic director. Hiscox said Ross will choose the positions for the other coaches after the board votes on the recommendations.
Thorne : However, he also said that Todd Thorne will most likely serve as junior varsity coach, Finnigan and Alan Thorne will likely work as varsity and junior varsity assistants, and Arnold and DeAngelo will likely coach the freshmen.
Hiscox said he based the recommendation for Pitzulo on discussions with Ross as well as comments others have made about the coaching staff. He would not discuss the source or nature of the comments in detail.
However, Hiscox also stressed that the decision not to recommend Pitzulo was not made at the behest of a few vocal parents.
"This discussion has not been based on playing time or any of the names Mr. Pitzulo's mentioned," he said.
Influential people: A few days after the June board meeting, Pitzulo 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 then that they have nothing to do with the board's decision on Pitzulo.
Eddy's son and Kucek's son were members of the junior varsity baseball team last season, and Buck's son played on the freshman baseball 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 team next year.