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Ex-B-A coach says concerns weren’t resolved ministration

By Todd Irwin

sports@altoonamirror.com

Kyle Fink was named the head coach of the Bellwood-Antis High School wrestling team in August after former coach Tim Andrekovich stepped down before Easter of 2021.

Fink, who wrestled under Ron Wilson and graduated in 2012, resigned as the coach of the Blue Devils on Tuesday afternoon — just hours before B-A wrestled Everett.

Fink said he stepped down because of issues with a couple of wrestlers and parents.

“One of the families just started causing problems with me and the program,” Fink said, “because they knew they could get away with it. We have a rulebook that is signed by the wrestlers, signed by the parents. One of the rules is we can’t go on social media and bash the program, bash the coaches.

“In a span of three days, one of the kids missed three days of practice. One kid skipped one day of practice, and the parents bashed the coaches on social media.

“So I went to the school psychiatrist and I said ‘Hey, this is what’s happening. We have the handbook. Why can I not treat this like anything else? Why can I not treat everyone the same?’ They said, ‘We’ll talk to the lawyer.”

Fink said he met with the Bellwood-Antis Superintendent Thomas R. McInroy, a mediator and a lawyer for the school district.

“I got a 25-minute lecture on why we can’t do anything to these kids because of everything that is going on,” Fink said. “We can’t do anything about the parents bashing the program and the coaches. At the end, I said, ‘To be clear, even though he hasn’t practiced in a week, I can’t sit him tonight?’

“They said something along the lines of ‘Haven’t you been paying attention?'”

Former Bellwood-Antis Junior High wrestling coach Ryan Blazier was convicted on Oct. 15, 2021, of seven sexual assault charges arising from allegations of two wrestlers. Blazier was arrested in February of 2020.

Fink said he resigned at the meeting. Fink’s assistant coach, Trentin Whaley, a 2019 B-A graduate who was a state qualifier, also resigned.

Asked why he didn’t wait until the end of the season, he said, “I can’t coach. I can’t be fair to these kids. I really thought the school would give me something, and they didn’t.”

It’s unclear who will be coaching the Blue Devils tonight at home against rival Tyrone.

“We have a plan in place, but I have no comment further than that,” Bellwood-Antis athletic director Charlie Burch told the Mirror Tuesday night.

Burch couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils are 0-14 going into the match against the 6-2 Golden Eagles. They nearly earned their first win against Everett. The dual meet ended in a 30-30 tie, but Everett won on criteria (most forfeit wins, 4-2).

“I could care less that we were 0-14,” Fink said, “because we were winning individual matches during those meets. We were winning a majority of those matches on the mat. I thought the wrestlers were doing an excellent job with only filling half of the weight classes.”

Fink was asked what he thought the future of the program was.

“Who’s going to want to step into this?” he asked. “I’ve heard rumblings about Tyrone and Bellwood might merge, or the program might be done. I hope it’s not done. I like this program a lot. I spent a lot of years in it. But the parents can’t run the program.”

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