New Castle News

August 13, 2013

Police: Sharon football coach was attacked by former player

Tom Davidson
Sharon Herald

SHARON — Sharon High School football coach Jim Wildman was attacked in his home Sunday.

The suspect, Joseph Koscinski, 38, beat on the door of the coach’s Bentley Avenue home, then forced his way in about 4 p.m. and began biting Wildman “in the ear, face and head area and choking him,” Sharon Police Chief Mike Menster said.

A city police detective who lives across the street was alerted to the situation and responded to Wildman’s home.

He and other neighbors pulled Koscinski off Wildman and he was taken into custody.

The coach said he didn’t recognize Koscinski when he showed up at his home “in a fit of rage.” Only after police told Wildman the suspect’s name did he recognize him as a former player, the coach said, adding he has no idea why he was attacked.

“When he was at my door, he didn’t look anything like anyone I know,” Wildman, 66, said.

“He screamed a number of ... threatening types of things, but, specifically, nothing that alluded to or gave me any indication why he was here.”

Koscinski wasn’t armed, and no one was shot, contrary to police radio reports about the call, according to Menster.

“There was no gun involved,” Menster said. “This was purely a hand-to-hand assault.”

Wildman was taken to Horizon Hospital, Farrell, then transferred to Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he was admitted Sunday night, a spokeswoman said.

A plastic surgeon used 60 stitches to repair bite marks to Wildman’s ear, the coach said. He was released Monday.

The man who assaulted Wildman also was hurt and was taken to a “local hospital” where he is under police guard, Menster said.

Police plan to charge him with aggravated assault and other crimes, Menster said. “We’re going to have to review this whole thing.”

Menster described the alleged assault as an unprovoked attack.

Police were still attempting to determine a motive and said the only connection between the men was that Wildman had coached Koscinski about 20 years ago.

Court records don’t show any significant criminal history for Koscinski. He was arrested for drunken driving in 2006 and was acquitted of two of three charges. Prosecutors withdrew the third charge.

Wildman retired in 2002 after a quarter-century as head coach of the Sharon High Tigers, where he compiled a then-record 208 wins.

In February, the Sharon school board gave Wildman a three-year contract to return to the sidelines this fall.

His coaching prowess is the stuff of local lore and during the 1990s, his teams had 103 victories.

He is a member of both the Mercer County (2003) and Pennsylvania (2000) sports halls of fame.

Wildman said he won’t be able to attend two-a-day practices that were to begin Monday, though he’s hoping to attend a couple of team meetings.

He said he got back into coaching because he still had the drive for it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.