UPDATE — 6:59 PM Sunday, January 18, 2015 (EST)
In response to this story, and apparent feedback on social media, Breitung Township Schools released the following statement:
“The facts regarding the Kingsford High School Football Program and Mr. Hofer are as follows: There has been recent public concern as to the direction the Flivver football program has been heading. Administration has looked into these concerns very diligently and has determined that some philosophical and procedural changes are warranted. Administration has met with Mr. Hofer and his staff to outline expectations.
On Monday, January 12, the Breitung Township School Board supported a plan to bring Kingsford Football to an even higher level. This plan included retaining Mr. Hofer as head coach and in charge of leading this initiative. Subsequently, the Athletic Committee chose to revisit some concerns brought up by some student athletes. The concerns were previously brought to the superintendent and dealt with.
In short, prior to Friday’s meeting, the Kingsford Football Program was charged with instituting some major changes while keeping Coach Hofer at the helm. We are looking forward to moving forward with a team approach to implement positive change in the Kingsford athletic program.
We will be moving forward this week to address any dissension and start team building with all of our student athletes. A positive culture/climate is very important to us and our intentions are to get back on the track that is an expected part of being a Flivver.
It is understood that people like drama. Please understand that there is no drama surrounding this matter and It would be appreciated if each of you do your part to turn this in to a positive learning experience for everybody.”
KINGSFORD — “I just want to say that the accusations against coach Hofer about being too physical or verbally abusive are absolutely preposterous. If any of these parents are complaining about their child being abused by Hofer, I think that maybe ballet would be a little more suitable for their children. If it is too rough for them, they may want to find another sport,” said a senior Kingsford football player who currently supports the coaching style of coach Hofer.
Some parents in Kingsford want the varsity football coach fired. He’s accused by some players of being verbally abusive, too physical, and extremely forceful. At a meeting tonight complaints were voiced about the coaching style of coach Chris Hofer. Parents say enough is enough, and they want action.
“He’s thrown stuff in the locker room. He broke a mirror, a lot of swearing, a lot of F-bombs. You can’t do that type of stuff. The kids are nervous. Some feel threatened, some won’t play… We have a good program here and we need change. You can’t get away with this at home, they have laws against it, something needs to be done,” said concerned father, Edward Kowalkowski.
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But a surprising turn at the meeting, filing into the meeting were players and former players in support of their coach.
Current player Austin Stanchina said, “I am completely against the complaints, we all got heated in games, I have thrown my helmet during games at times because of frustration. We’ve all done things that we regret. Football is a passionate game when you are playing for each other and we lost sight of that a little bit. This is Flivver Football. We are passionate, we care.”
“I have a lot of experience with the coaching staff and I can honestly say, in my heart of hearts, these are good men, they care about us, they care about the game. We were just a bunch of rag tag group of guys who like to play football. We turned it around and we were GNC Champions,” said former Flivvers player, Cole Wahoviak.
No decision was reached tonight. The school board is taking all comments under careful consideration and will make a determination.