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WPIAL wants Penn Hills football coach Jon LeDonne suspended |
High School Football

WPIAL wants Penn Hills football coach Jon LeDonne suspended

Chris Harlan
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Penn Hills football coach Jon LeDonne speaks to members of the media following a celebration for their state championship title on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.

Jon LeDonne just won a state title, but the WPIAL wants the Penn Hills football coach suspended for next season’s opener.

The WPIAL board voted Monday to discipline LeDonne and the school’s athletic department after someone on Penn Hills’ sideline ignited a smoke device before the WPIAL championship Nov. 23 at Norwin.

The WPIAL had told Penn Hills’ administration that its team wasn’t allowed to create a smoke cloud, but that directive was ignored, WPIAL executive director Tim O’Malley said.

“We told them not to do it and they just did it anyhow,” O’Malley said.

The WPIAL discipline includes:

  • A one-game suspension for LeDonne.
  • Sportsmanship education class for the football staff.

  • A one-year probation for the football program.
  • Censure of the administration and football staff.

If the school doesn’t agree to suspend LeDonne, the WPIAL would ban Penn Hills from the football playoffs, O’Malley said.

Penn Hills can ask the WPIAL for a hearing to appeal.

The smoke stretched the length of the field at Norwin Knights Stadium minutes before Penn Hills faced West Allegheny in the WPIAL Class 5A final. Penn Hills had also created smoke before the semifinal this season, O’Malley said, and the WPIAL informed the school that it was not permitted at the championship.

“They just defied the directive,” O’Malley said. “We’re legally liable in the case somebody has a reaction or somebody gets hurt.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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