Pettine (right) with his namesake Mike Jr., now the Cleveland Browns coach.

By Ben Sullivan

There has been no high school coach in the Philly region who is more revered than Mike Pettine Sr., who led Central Bucks West from 1967 (when it was Central Bucks High — it became C. B. West in 1969) to 1999 and ran up a 327-42 record.

The cancellation of the C. B. West football season in the wake of the hazing incidents reported last week have engendered lots of reaction and overreaction.

Here is what he said in a prepared statement:

From my view it appears the school district gave little forethought regarding the ramifications of their overzealous, knee jerk, over reaction when confronted with the hot button topic of hazing.

The canceled East-West game not only punished West players but also the band members, cheerleaders and general student body along with their sister school counterparts. It tainted the reputation of the entire coaching staff — most of whom I have the privilege to know and are the kind of high character mentors you want coaching your kids.

Most egregious was punishing the players who did nothing but have been held equally accountable. That is ludicrous and so is the so-called policy that was applied to irresponsibly hand down collective guilt. With a little competent diligence, the administrative investigation could have identified what in fact occurred and not thrown an irresponsible blanket of guilt over every player and coach connected with the program.

By any fair measurement what allegedly occurred does not justify the extreme punishment rendered.

The school district decision made it appear that crimes were committed. My understanding is the police investigation concluded there was no criminal behavior yet the district decision made it seem that we had a similar repeat of the heinous abuses and crimes associated with the Sayreville HS hazing incident in New Jersey.

Our district thus sparked a media frenzy that portrayed Central Bucks West HS in a negative image from coast to coast — not to mention the community of Doylestown. If you think this is an exaggeration, I declined film interviews with CBS news, the Associated Press and ESPN — just to name a few!

The fallout from this ill-advised decision is irreparable. When an out-of-state person recognizes the name of Central Bucks West HS they will not be thinking of a school with a great academic and extracurricular tradition but rather that school had that terrible hazing incident.

When it’s all said and done the wrong people have been suspended. The coaches from my understanding were through with their supervisory team duties for the day when the problem activities took place. The administrators responsible for this travesty of mismanagement are the individuals who should be suspended, and any school board member who supported their decision should resign. The unnecessary widespread hurt and damage they created demands it!

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