By Steve ruman
In 2007, Shawn Pompelia was inexplicably fired as the coach of the Warren John F. Kennedy High basketball program despite posting a three-year record of 47-21.
In his second stint with the Eagles, it appears as though Pompelia is once again fighting for his job.
Warren JFK president Brian Sinchak on Monday acknowledged that because of a “tough situation,” the school has placed Pompelia’s coaching fate into the hands of the Youngstown Diocese.
Sinchak would not elaborate on what forced the school to turn the matter over to the diocese.
“There have been rumors swirling about that Shawn has been fired, and that is not accurate,” Sinchak said. “All of the contracts for the winter sports coaches have expired, and they are currently being reviewed.
“Shawn falls into that category.”
However, Sinchak added that Pompelia’s renewal would receive “special attention.”
“When our coaching contracts expire, they are evaluated at the school level and we decide whether they will be renewed or if we will go in another direction,” Sinchak said. “In some tough situations, the diocese gets involved and they make the final decision.”
“We ran into a very tough situation concerning Coach Pompelia and yes, he is being evaluated at the diocesan level.”
Sinchak said that the details of the decision made by the diocese only would be shared with Pompelia and “any families that might be involved.”
Randy Rair, Youngstown Diocese assistant superintendent, said that Pompelia still is considered to be the Warren JFK coach. However, Rair confirmed that Pompelia’s coaching future with the school is in the hands of the diocese.
“There are a lot of moving parts to this particular matter, but it’s a personnel matter which will be handled from within,” Rair said. “I’m not trying to be evasive, but because of privacy rights I just cannot comment on the situation at this time.
“We have no specific deadline in making a decision regarding Shawn and the basketball program. We simply want to be certain that we make the right decision for the students of Kennedy.”
Calls seeking comment from Pompelia were not returned.
Once considered among the most successful and stable overall high school athletic programs in the Manoning Valley, Warren JFK has had more than its share of changes in recent months.
When Pompelia was dismissed in 2007, he was replaced by Bruce Timko, who lasted just two seasons despite winning a district title in 2008-09.
Timko was replaced by Brent Villella, who coached one season.
During the 2012-13 school year, the JFK girls basketball program, coached by John Baytes, dissolved five games into the season. The program was reinstated this year under John Condoleon.
The JFK track program lost highly-successful coach Robert Andrews at the end of 2013 after just a two-year stint. He was replaced by Jack Thornton. Last November, JFK chose not to renew the contract of football coach Dave Pappada after just two years.
Pappada was a longtime JFK assistant who was promoted to head coach in 2012, leading the Eagles to a 9-2 finish and a playoff appearance. Pappada and his staff of assistants possessed more than 240 years of coaching experience.
Also last fall, JFK fired volleyball coach Bob Plant in mid-season.
Vince Lyons was hired as assistant to the president for athletic development at the start of the 2013-14 school year. He was dismissed in February and will be replaced by Youngstown State Director of Football Operations Dan Kopp.