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Mon Valley residents say Monessen coach Pacak is right

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 12:33 a.m.

Monessen football coach Andy Pacak should be commended for telling police Thursday that some of his players might have brought drugs into the locker room, according to a half dozen Mid-Mon Valley residents.

Three Monessen players – ages 15, 16 and 17 – were arrested by city police following a locker room search Thursday. Two handguns and suspected heroin were among several items seized.

Jayneen Anderson of Monessen passionately defended Pacak's decision.

“I don't know what parent in their right mind would say that he was wrong,” she said. “If I felt my child was in danger, I would expect the coach to do the right thing. We have to protect our kids, and he did the right thing. Because at that time, our kids are in his care.”

While Pacak might be labeled a “snitch” in some circles – particularly in a number of Facebook posts — Sherry Pipik of Allenport gives credit to the ninth-year Greyhounds head coach.

“I'd think it would be an easy thing to do, but I give him some props for what he did, sure,” Pipik said.

“I'm a mom. I'm stunned, still. A 15-year-old kid with heroin and a gun? It's pretty scary.”

Edward Yakich, 73, of Charleroi echoed those sentiments.

“If he knows it's going on, he has to turn them in. And I give him credit for that, because he's putting himself in a spot now,” said Yakich, whose father had attended Monessen schools.

“My dad would've killed me for something like this, but it's everywhere. You'd hope this would (curtail) the problem, but it won't.

“These kids today just don't care anymore, and you have to blame the parents or the lack of parents.”

Steve Miller's son attended Monessen high school six years ago. The 47 year-old Monongahela resident just shook his head when informed of the criminal charges against the three players.

“I think it's really stupid with kids messing around with heroin,” Miller said. “The 30- and 40-year-old junkies are making their money off of these young, teenage kids, and that's pathetic if you ask me.”

Miller said the situation is “scary.”

“You're talking about heroin,” he said. “How many people die from heroin, and how many young kids are you starting to see die from heroin? What if that was your kid or my kid? How would you feel? I definitely give (Pacak) all the credit in the world.”

Ernest Henderson, a 1990 Monessen graduate, lamented the way the drug culture has escalated in recent years.

“I think it's rather stupid they would go that far to have anything like (heroin) in the locker room, let alone teenagers being in possession, period,” Henderson said.

“When I was coming up in high school, we never had anything like that. At most, you might have seen somebody with marijuana, but that was it. No guns, no heroin was ever involved.”

Henderson hinted Pacak might have prevented violence.

“I guess in his point of view, he did the right thing, and I can't say he didn't do the right thing,” Henderson said. “You never know what may have transpired if they weren't caught. You can't just smack them on their hand and say, ‘Don't do that again.'”

Shaun Anderson of Monessen said the problem stems from bad examples by former athletic standouts.

“All them guys that were superstars in high school are now standing on the corner, doing nothing,” he said. “These kids look at them and say, ‘I want to be like them, playing sports when I grow up.' Boom, they graduate and they're nowhere. They're not working anywhere. They're standing there on the corner, and they didn't accomplish (anything). You want to be like them, playing sports, you want to be like them in life.”

Jayneen Anderson interjected her version of what she sees as a greater societal issue.

“These younger kids feel that they're so awesome in sports. They feel whatever they're going to do is just going to get a slap on the hand, because the team needs them,” she said. “What if that kid would have pulled a gun out on one of our kids? Bullets don't have a name on them. That was (Pacak's) right to protect them.”

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.

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