Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Former Phoenixville basketball coach Bill Detweiler speaks on suspension

Ousted coach speaks out on suspension

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By Dennis J. Wright

PHOENIXVILLE — Former Phoenixville basketball coach Bill Detweiler says he's had offers that would not violate the one-year coaching suspension issued last week by the Pennsylvania Interstate Athletic Association, but he's taking a year off from basketball anyway.

Detweiler, along with assistant coaches Ken Winston and G.T. Pufko, were suspended from coaching any high school athletic teams of a PIAA member school after a lengthy hearing at the Upper Merion HIgh School on Sept. 22.

Detweiler and Winston were recently fired as basketball coaches at Phoenix

ville Area High School following allegations of violating both a PIAA rule regarding recruitment and a school district code regarding conduct.

The PIAA panel also found Phoenixville Area High School in violation regarding the transfer of student-athlete George Harper to the high school and placed the school district on probation for one year.

The past several months have been trying for Detweiler, as he said he thought he understood the details of the PIAA rules.

"We weren't trying to be deceptive," Detweiler said in an interview with The Mercury after last week's grueling hearing. "When I went into the meeting, I thought I interpreted it the right way. We told them (the PIAA) everything, and we got suspended for it. I think the PIAA felt we were a bit too cozy.

"I'm saddened by this and I'm sad for the guys. Everyone who has coached at Phoenixville did it with a passion."

Detweiler said that he met George Harper, along with his father, George, and AAU coach Thurman Cameron at a Phoenixville Area Positive Alternatives summer basketball league game in August 2008. He said the father wanted his son to come to Phoenixville since his previous high school had closed.

"I was excited that George was coming to a good school and to prepare himself for a good education," he said. "We were concerned about him starting school for an educational purpose, not a basketball purpose."

Detweiler refuted several comments made by the father during the hearing regarding statements that the Harpers' rent would be taken care of if they moved from Philadelphia.

"We made mistakes, and we shouldn't have introduced them to a housing situation," he said. "We should've let them do it themselves. Nobody offered to pay rent. Nobody said that we'd win state championships with him.

"If I knew then what I know now, we wouldn't have done it. I feel bad for Kenny, because he was trying to help. I feel bad for GT because he was trying to help. If someone comes to a school and wants to move there, tell them to go to the school, and don't even talk to them. We met them and then told them that."

After reading numerous stories in the newspaper and comments on the Internet, Detweiler said that those who are critical of what happened should learn the truth.

"People should just tell the truth, and don't embellish or lie about people that isn't true," he said. "What is done is done. I'm admitting we made mistakes. We only did it from a point of view of trying to help. I'm standing up for that. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't do it.

"Stop saying bad things about Kenny and GT. What happened has happened. I loved coaching in the PAC," he continued, referring to the PAC-10 league. "I thought everyone was great. Everyone should focus on the future and quit making ugly untrue comments. It is just awful."

As for his former championship team, Detweiler wishes them the best for the upcoming season.

"I wish the best for Phoenixville basketball," he said. "I love those guys and wish the best for them. Nothing would make me feel better than if they have another great season."

Now that the suspension has begun, Detweiler spoke about his impending endeavors.

"I'm going to take a year off," he said. "I was going to coach at (a college) but this has taken a lot out of me. Wherever I go, it will be a circus.

"When you are out on the recruiting tour, people will question me. So I'm going to take a year off. I wanted to retire at Phoenixville but it didn't happen. I won't be retiring on my own terms. I will see how things go after the new year, and we will have to wait and see."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It almost sounds like he wants people to feel sorry for him because he violated rules and got caught. In regards to him wanting people to leave K.W. and G.T.P. alone, he should have thought about that before they willingly followed along or he dragged them into it (whichever it may be). K.W. should have known he could choose a POSITIVE ALTERNATIVE after all the work he did with PAPAs.