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Cops: Ex-player attacked former football coach at home

PITTSBURGH – A western Pennsylvania man who played high school football decades ago charged into his former coach’s house and attacked him, biting him on his ears and face and choking him, authorities said.

Joseph Koscinski, 38, beat on the door of the coach’s home and then forced his way in about 4 p.m. Sunday, when he began biting him “in the ear, face and head area, and choking him,” Sharon police Chief Mike Menster said.

The coach, Jim Wildman, said he didn’t recognize Koscinski when he showed up “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,” said Wildman, 66. “He screamed a number of things that, honestly, threatening types of things, but, specifically, nothing that alluded to or gave me any indication why he was here.”

Neighbors, including an off-duty city police detective who lives across the street, intervened to stop the attack, Menster said.

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

Police were still attempting to determine a motive for the attack and said the only connection between the men was that Wildman coached Koscinski about 20 years ago at Sharon High School in the town, about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh near the Ohio border.

“He was coached by Coach Wildman, but that was some time ago because this gentleman is 38 years old,” Menster said.

Koscinski was in custody at a hospital yesterday, and police planned to charge him with aggravated assault and other crimes, Menster said.

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

Wildman coached at Sharon High School for 25 years, compiling 208 wins and earning spots in both the Mercer County and Pennsylvania sports halls of fame, according to The (Sharon) Herald. He retired in 2002 but was rehired in February and given a three-year contract.

Wildman said he won’t be able to attend two-a-day practices that began yesterday, 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.

“I had painted every room in the house twice,” Wildman quipped.

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