Joe Wojcik is officially the East High School boys basketball coach.
Wojcik was approved as coach by the Akron Public Schools Board of Education in June, but did not take the job immediately. He met with parents and players from East this week and has decided to return to the sideline.
“On Monday, we had a meeting with everyone interested in playing basketball at East High School,” Wojcik said. “It went very well. We had about 40 to 45 people there. They were very supportive and eager to get started, and so am I. I am looking forward to being back in coaching at East High School.”
Wojcik served as coach at Firestone High School from 2008-2011 and posted a 32-31 overall record. His coaching supplemental contract was not renewed at Firestone in the summer of 2011 following an allegation of a misappropriation of funds.
He was later cleared of the allegation after an impartial investigator found the former coach had not taken booster funds. The board rejected that opinion and voted not to reinstate his coaching contract in 2011. Dave Milo has coached Firestone’s boys basketball team for the past two seasons.
Wojcik consulted with the Akron Education Association and filed a lawsuit against the APS, APS Superintendent David James, APS Board of Education President Jason Haas and three unnamed persons for breach of contract, wrongful discharge, defamation and civil conspiracy.
Wojcik dropped the lawsuit and all of the charges earlier this year.
“I am happy it’s over,” Wojcik said. “It’s been a long two-and-a-half year years. I am anxious to get back to coaching and doing what I love to do at East High School.”
Bill Siegferth, the former AEA president, consulted with Wojcik since his departure as Firestone’s boys basketball coach. He is happy Wojcik is set to coach at East.
“He was introduced to the parents and players by the superintendent, David James, and by [APS program manager for interscholastic athletics] Joe Howard, and they were very receptive,” Siegferth said. “Joe had all of his assistants with him, and David and Joe Howard were very cooperative and supportive. This is a very positive outcome.”
Wojcik takes over as East’s coach in place of Ross Fiorello, who stepped down in March after guiding the team for nine seasons.
Fiorello compiled a 116-87 record at East from 2004-2013. During his nine seasons, Fiorello led East to Division II district titles in 2012 and 2009, and a Division I district title in 2010. His teams won two regular season City Series championships and made three appearances in the City Series Championship game, winning it in 2012.
East is set to return standout junior guard Derik Lewis, Wojcik said.
Wojcik, a graduate of St. Vincent-St. Mary and Mount Union, is a teacher at Ellet High School. He was an assistant coach at Walsh Jesuit and Ellet for one season each, and then was an assistant under Jerry Laria at Garfield for 16 seasons and at Firestone for two seasons.