Pa. coach suspended after telling student body to “grow a pair”

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A cross country coach in Erie, Pa. may have put his job in jeopardy by firing out an email castigating his school's fans in the middle of the holiday season.

Cathedral Prep cross country coach Chet Moffett
Cathedral Prep cross country coach Chet Moffett

As first reported by the Erie Times-News, Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep cross country coach Chet Moffett has been suspended because of a heated email he sent to the school's entire student body following a Cathedral Prep boys basketball game against local rival Erie (Pa.) General McLane High. Among the most gross and overstated claims in Moffett's letter were that any Prep students who chose to sit with their parents needed to "cut the umbilical cord … and grow a pair" and that students who chose to sit in the opposing fan section to be with their girlfriends must be dating "high maintenance, selfish pig and you should dump her now."

Here's the entire text of Moffett's caustic salvo at his own student body:

Gentlemen --

I wanted to drop you all a line and give you my thoughts on Tuesday's basketball game at general mcLame. I have been a coach here at Prep since 1998; so I have witnessed my share of close games (wins and losses), and I am fine with that. What I am not ok with is the fact that during the game, the GM student body out did us! It pains me to say that, but it's true. I was perplexed about this during the game, because I did notice that we had our usual cast that have showed incredible school spirit in the past; then after the game, I counted 36 (and I'm sure I missed a few) Prep students that chose not to sit in the cheering section. Gentlemen -- that is unacceptable!!

I asked one student that did not sit in the cheering section and his reply was, "I wanted to sit with my girlfriend". My reply was simple, "If she made or wanted you sit with her, then she is a high maintenance, selfish pig and you should dump her now and if you wanted to sit with her and ignore your brethren on the floor, then join [a former Prep student who since has transferred] at mercyworst!" In other words there is no excuse! Another student told me that he wanted to sit with his parents. My reply, "Cut the umbilical cord and grow a pair!" In other words there is no excuse! Another kid told me that he just wanted to "hang out with his friends". I had no reply; I have no patience for boy lovers! Guys -- there are no excuses for not cheering for your school!

Understand guys -- we set the standard with our cheering section! We were named the best fans in the state by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette! That's 150 miles away! Every news crew in this town wants to cover our games because of our cheering section! The 36 plus that didn't cheer for their school (and you know who you are) should be ashamed of themselves! You have chosen to be a part of a Brotherhood that no other school will ever understand! Your classmates make sacrifices in blood, sweat, tears to represent this school -- show your support!

Every game we go to our goal should be to make the opposing team, their family and their coaches as uncomfortable as possible! I hold the entire school accountable! Never should a bunch of mayonnaise sandwich eating, sister loving, trailer park dwelling clowns at general mclane ever chant "we can't hear you" to Cathedral Prep! Let's show our support to all winter sports (basketball, hockey, swimming and wrestling) and do it the Cathedral Prep way!

Please fix this!

Have a wonderful holiday,

Coach Moffett

Shortly after the first email received widespread condemnation, Moffett offered up a second email in which he apologized for making homophobic comments and degrading comments about women. Still, the coach was handed a suspension from school activity, which Cathedral Prep president Rev. Scott Jabo claiming that the email was out of character for a longtime member of the school's athletic community.

"Unfortunately [Moffett] showed a lack of judgment," Jabo told the Times-News. "He was contrite. He took full responsibility. He apologized to the student body and he is in the process of apologizing to Mercyhurst Prep and General McLane. Obviously the e-mail runs contrary to the mission of Cathedral Prep and as such is unacceptable on every level.

"The e-mail does not represent what Prep stands for nor does it define a Man of Prep. Mr. Moffett has taken complete responsibility for his incredible lack of judgment and realizes he made a grievous mistake."

It remains unclear if that grievous mistake will cost Moffett his job, or just stand as a general incident of lack of judgment on the part of a longtime coach. A number of residents of the greater Erie community have signed on to a Facebook page called "Fire Chet Moffett" aimed at, unsurprisingly, forcing the coach out of his current job.

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