Parents Complain Salisbury Coach Humiliated Football Players

Some Salisbury Football Booster Club members complained to school board that football coach verbally abused team and undermined morale, others say coaching lacks leadership.

Some members complained to the Salisbury School Board the Salisbury High School coach had routinely verbally abused the team and undermined morale. Others said parents and their children were afraid to complain because they feared retribution.

Butch Rossetti, president of the booster club, said they have complained about coach Rob Sawicki to the district's athletic director Monica Deeb and other administrators at , as recently as last week, but were still frustrated.

"We want to make sure our voice is heard. Wins and losses are not the only thing that we were concerned with, we were concerned with treatment," Rossetti said.

"Coaches are mentors to our boys and the decisions they make for our boys last a lifetime," he said. "When they're 50 years old and they're talking about what a great time they had on the football program at Salisbury, that's what I want to hear. I don't want to hear they had such a horrible time. That's the reason we're here," Rossetti said.

Booster club member Kathleen Baugher said the coach called the players derogatory names in the locker room and hallways.

"It breaks my heart to hear what some of these boys have gone through," Baugher said. "I know this is not exactly the correct forum, but I don't know what it is to get everyone to understand that these boys are being influenced for the rest of their lives by people who are supposed to be positive thinkers."

Cindy Steckel, who said she was a concerned grandparent, told the board "there have been some very obnoxious, nasty, foul things said to these boys by coaches, far from appropriate. Someone should investigate."

Board member John Moyer said he considered the booster club's allegations  "really serious."

"I look forward an update on that issue and a recommendation," he said.

Attempts to reach Sawicki were unsuccessful. Superintendent Robert Gross said later in an e-mail that he could not comment on specific allegations, citing personnel confidentiality laws. "The administration has always and will steadfastly continue to take all appropriate action relative to any and all issues brought forward regarding any employee in the school district, whether of a negative or positive nature," he wrote.

Sawicki has been a Salisbury High School football coach for eight years and head coach for the last four years. The Falcons football team has had some tough seasons finishing 0-10 last year and and 1-9 this past fall in the Colonial League South. Going into the season, the booster club held a spaghetti dinner in late August to try to boost morale.

Booster club member Dan Mohry, who wants to see a change in the entire football staff, said wanted to know when coaches would be selected for next season "so we can represent the student athletes the way we feel they need to be."

Mohry said later that he was more concerned about getting a coaching staff that could develop leadership and be mentors to the players than he was about the language they use on the field. "I'm looking for somebody who can develop a successful program," he said.

The superintendent said Deeb, Salisbury High School Principal Heather Morningstar and Assistant Principal Bill Dovico will meet shortly after the end-of-season athletic banquets to discuss all athletic coaching positions, which are one-year contracts.

"They will be reviewing the fall season, as they do after each sports season--- fall, winter, spring. Anything they're going to propose in terms of coaching positions will then come to me. I will then share it with the board shortly thereafter after their review," Gross said. 

Mohry wanted to know what the criteria is for keeping a coach. "I see a baseball team that is lighting up the board. I see a basketball team that is very, very successful."

Gross said the school abides by criteria established by the National Federation of High School Sports, which governs PIAA sports.

"Suffice to say, it's far more than W's and L's [wins and losses]... We'll take a look at the wins and losses, the interactions, the program ability, the development ability of the program, how the coaching staff is dealing with that. It's a pretty comprehensive set of criteria that is used."

Salisbury Falcon November 21, 2011 at 10:38 PM
That's not a smart comment. You can play football, soccer or join any extra curricular activity at the same time. Football players are not super heroes. Everybody is overreacting. It's all about the 5-36 record. No parent of a bench player or average athlete would complain about the alleged coach's verbal abuses if he was 36-5 instead. And no cry baby untalented player would whine in a successful program. It's all about Ws and Ls.
former fball player November 21, 2011 at 10:47 PM
When was the last time we made it to districts before the era of Sawicki? NEVER
former fball player November 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM
All of you football players and parents are so full of yourselves. Sorry your kids or yourselves didn't turn out to the superstar athlete you though you'd all be
Falcon Fan November 22, 2011 at 12:08 AM
WRONG I don't remember the years but Salisbury made Districts under both Jim Morgans & Frank Lane who were the coaches preceeding Mark Scilsy.
buk lau November 22, 2011 at 12:51 AM
haha i feel the same way they do, im a senior and im not going to be a "former fball player" after this year. sorry you didnt turn out to be the superstar athlete you thought youd be.
salisbury alum November 22, 2011 at 01:02 AM
have fun warming the bench up in college buk lau
salisbury alum November 22, 2011 at 01:06 AM
i actually played in college and started unlike you, keep thinking your the greatest ever cause i know who you are and you most def aren't
buk lau November 22, 2011 at 01:08 AM
you know who i am but do i know who you are? stop hiding behind your computer like a schoolgirl. hes gone. would you just give it a rest?
salisbury supporter November 22, 2011 at 02:20 AM
falcon observer I went to beca . Friends of mine played for stem as well as my nephew. they took plenty of crap. But they respected stem . my son played for sawicki and respected him.
The Pay November 22, 2011 at 02:36 AM
I guess 2 or 3 players respecting him changes the picture.
The Pay November 22, 2011 at 02:38 AM
Buk lau you are one big corner. I'm glad that hs superstars that have moved on to college can pick a fight with hs students. That my friends is maturity in the real world.
buk lau November 22, 2011 at 02:51 AM
i just got off the phone with colgate. they think im gonna play 5th string corner
The Pay November 22, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Don't get your hopes up I know some good corners there maybe 6 th. Seeing all of the positive remarks toward our football team I'm sure you will have plenty of support....
salisbury supporter November 22, 2011 at 03:03 AM
There are more then two or three. He was an asst. coach when Salisbury won the eastern conf. championship. So maybe its the players who weren't up for the challenge. Not the coach. Former players stopped by the weight room this past summer and witnessed the lack of commitment. So not all the blame goes to the coach.
The Pay November 22, 2011 at 03:17 AM
ASSISTANT COACH. Which is a completely different role that doesn't require leading a team. And lack of commitment? I was there everyday not one past player stopped in the weight room. Plus we went to 1 lifting meet and placed second with every person earning a medal and set a record. That doesn't sound like lack of commitment. Yes there were 2 players who were at SPEED CAMP not lifting where again was not apparent of lack of commitment. Oh your right the players weren't up for the challenge and didn't want to win and they put all that time and effort in to plan on losing.
Carol November 22, 2011 at 01:29 PM
Are these the same parents who fight in the stands at the Wilson game? Are these the same parents who have constantly harassed the coaches? Great examples. Face it, the team was undersized, had no talent, and was soft. The parents don't want to face the truth. Their kids aren't all stars. Those participation trophies at home don't mean a thing when results matter. It's your coddling and behavior that made them soft.
salisburymom November 22, 2011 at 02:48 PM
Winning Tradition- Salisbury football has NO winning tradition. Besides the 06' EC championship, they have had NOTHING for 35 years. Oh there were a few playoff games (maybe 4) in 35 years. All I have to say is careful what you wish for. The next coach could be worse. It can ALWAYS get worse. Sawicki is not the only issue for salisbury football. It starts at the youth. Who after moving into their 3rd (easier) league in 4 years have finally won something. NOBODY brings their kids to Salisbury for football. They have a great academic program. How about we worry about the kids education, instead of the athletics. With SO much focus on the athletics, we are sending our kids a very WRONG message. I can guarantee that the new coach will get the very same treatment as ALL the past Salisbury football coaches. They all get run out. Just ask Lane and Morgans.
parent November 22, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Lets stick to facts for LEADERSHIP for comparison MIDDLE SCHOOL HAD ONE QUARTERBACK--THAT IS INDIVIDUAL AGENDA NOT TEAM APPROACH--sure Coach Weber has the right things to say in public-- what about his comments to players and his own agendas speak louder than words -Well when someone has an agenda(Middle School Football coach)you can see agendas fly. Coach Sawicki is a school teacher also a respectable part of our school district.Coach Weber has planned to pull down the high school program and to out shine the rest. Lets dig and look at the middle school coach and his followers. You will find them in a garage drinking and seperating the TEAM. The comments and degrading are no different on the middle school level. And at least Sawicki didnt enter the district under false pretences.Does our district allow bullying ?The trickle effect from parents to students allow the agenda of the middle school coach to lay his pathe for high school coach. We can respect Coach Sawicki if his resigniation is for his family, but lets look at all the harrassing he had to endure . As a district moving forward their is a bad taste and will divide our community if we allow Coach Weber and his followers to rule our district.. That is not a leadership our kids need to learn-respect, morals, and true team. they need mentors , Don't allow a victory for all who wanted Sawicki removed for Weber to take over. WHAT LESSON DOES THAT SHOW ALL>
bilbywilby November 22, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Most people when they graduate move on from their high schools. They don't spend their time belittling people who are 3 years younger then them. Be the better person and move on, who cares. He's gone. Your gone. And buk lao is gone. Stop dwelling in the past
parent November 22, 2011 at 04:10 PM
If anyone knows about Hitler it is evident Coach Weber layed the foundation and was a feeder of information to others to pull down Sawicki. Before football even started Rumors flew about Coach Sawicki. The football camp was not supported, and public comments were made to SYA and middle school players and parents. They never had a chance to respect Coach Sawicki-- they were brain washed. Kids didnt want to play for Sawicki because parents had other agendas led by Coach Weber and the kids are merely doing as their parents say. Our school board needs to acknowledge integrity and our future for Salisbury-- Hire outside the district of someone who does not have children on the team and has already created their own horse and pony show... Start fresh to show kids bullying is not always supported and wins out. It would be an injustice if Coach Weber takes Head Coach position ever at Salisbury..
salisburymom November 22, 2011 at 04:21 PM
the wins might have something to do with 24-8th graders on the team. Let's see if he stays (doubt it) and works with the 10+ 7th graders (not just his kid in 8th grade) that he gave limited time to this year, even when winning by 21 or more points.
salisburymom November 22, 2011 at 04:29 PM
AGAIN??? Any bets on how long the next coach stays until he is run out? 3-4 years Any chance Salisbury gets a good coach, with salisbury's history of parents getting rid of coaches. Doubt it Somewhere Frank Lane, Jim Morgans, @ Mark Sicily are nodding their heads saying "some things never change". Good luck to the next coach Your gonna need it
salisburymom November 22, 2011 at 05:07 PM
and both Morgans and Lane were ran out because they were too "tough" on the kids. AND those teams were winning Is there ANY hope for Salisbury football, EVER??
salisburymom November 22, 2011 at 05:12 PM
Weber WILL be the next head coach That has always been the plan Then he can keep calling plays for his kid Again, careful what you wish for You may just get it
commonsense November 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM
Sir, I played football and some years we lost.and others we were champions.through out those years we had the same coaching staff. Would you of fired Joe Pa 10 yrs ago for his win-loss records. Players do not decide who they play for, they should play for team,themselves and their dreams. The reason we lose in Salisbury is exactly your response, the parents- kids attitudes!! Joe Pa always had 3 quarterback-can you say the same for middle school coaching staff? That is not a staff i can respect!
Everette Carr November 23, 2011 at 12:31 AM
buk lau - Don't pay any attention to this commenter, You know who you are and what your capable of. He doesn;t have a clue! You will no doubt be an outstanding football player at Colgate, if that's where you choose to go. Best thing for now is to let it go. No need to post anymore, Sawicki is gone! Enjoy your college experience and put the bad stuff at Salisbury behind you. Those of us who know what has been going on appreciate your speaking out in an attempt to inform the uninformed among us. You did your job, now let it go!
Everette Carr November 23, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Carol - No, probably not the same parents! These parents are interested in improving the entire Salisbury Football program and give of their time and money in an attempt to support a program that has gone terribly wrong. Where were you when all of this was going down?
David Roth November 25, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Your correcet.
David Roth November 25, 2011 at 01:36 PM
What qualifications do these people have to put these coaches into these positions? Look at all the coaches, their records and qualifications and you will see numerous "friends" or employees coaching with losing records, not just football. Untill proven coaches are in place, nothing will change. The hole system needs some checks and balances.
SalisburyLOL December 01, 2011 at 06:46 PM


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