Football coaches face charges

The Gannon University football program lost a member of its staff after two separate incidents forced one coach to resign and two others to face charges of disorderly conduct.

Anthony Ferla, 23, a defensive backs coach, resigned Monday while assistant coaches Michael Smith and Darren Paige received non-traffic citations for their roles in what police are calling a fight with former Gannon player Kendall Brown outside of the Boardwalk Complex on Oct. 16.

Indiana Borough Police are charging Ferla, a graduate assistant, with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and public urination after they say he exposed himself and urinated toward two marked police cars with uniformed officers inside. The car was parked in the 500 block of Philadelphia Street in Indiana Borough.

The incident occurred 1:30 a.m. Saturday before the Knights’ 35-7 loss against Indiana (Pa.) University.

“Gannon University takes these matters seriously and is extremely disappointed with the conduct of a Gannon graduate assistant football coach that occurred last weekend in Indiana,” Director Dan Teliski said in a statement.

The incident with Ferla came only six days after Smith, 28, and Paige, 27, were cited for disorderly conduct after engaging in what a police are calling a physical fight on North Park Row around 2 a.m.

Smith, who is entering his third season on the Knights’ staff, serves as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator while Paige is in his first year as Gannon’s wide receiver coach.

According to authorities, as the officers broke up a fight between Smith and Brown, the former Knights’ wide receiver continued fighting and struck an Erie police officer.

According to Teliski, the university investigated the matter and took disciplinary actions. However, due to the privacy rights of its employees, the specific actions taken are unknown, Teliski said.

Because they received non-traffic citations, Smith and Paige, who were teammates at Miami (Ohio) University in 2003, will only suffer penalties in the form of fines. As of Tuesday, neither Smith nor Paige had entered pleas. If they haven’t pled after 10 days, a warrant will be issued for their arrest, authorities said.

Brown, who caught 14 passes for 143 yards in his career, is facing criminal charges of disorderly conduct, harassment and public drunkenness. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 19.

Brown, 23, finished his playing career in 2010 but is still enrolled as a student at Gannon.

In response to the recent incidents, Gannon athletic director Mark Richard confirmed that he met with Kiernan and the coaching staff.

“We’re concerned, without a doubt, how our program is perceived,” Richard said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to do the right thing from here on out.”

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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