Baseball: Duffy back on bench for Golden Panthers

With the Archdiocese of Philadelphia lifting his suspension Wednesday, Pope John Paul II baseball coach John Duffy will be back on the bench for Thursday afternoon's PIAA Class AAA state quarterfinal against Northeastern.

Duffy, who had to sit out four games for his actions during the team's May 14 loss to Methacton in the Pioneer Athletic Conference championship game, will return in a limited capacity.

"Coach Duffy has not been formally reinstated as the head coach," Archdiocese of Philadelphia spokesman Kenneth Gavin wrote in an email to The Inquirer. "He is being permitted to attend the remaining state championship games, but is confined to the dugout and may only serve as an assistant coach. His verbal interactions will be limited to the dugout only."

Duffy, 40, will assist acting Golden Bears head coach Kevin O'Brien against Northeastern, District 3's third-place qualifier, in a 4 p.m. contest at Wenger Field in Fredericksburg. Duffy was with the squad for Wednesday evening's practice.

"I'm very thankful to the administration for allowing me to rejoin the team," Duffy said. "Now, the focus can be on what our players have accomplished and their attempt for a state championship."

The first-year coach added, "I know my actions at that game were not the best example for my players. Moving forward, we'll do nothing but represent the school and the community in the best way possible."

Dr. Michael A. Barber, the PIAA District 1 chairman, said the district would not contest the amendment to the original sanctions against Duffy.

"Really, this is Pope John Paul's decision," Barber said Wednesday. "If the school is choosing to reinstate their coach, that's their decision."

Barber did add that the matter could be reviewed during the district's committee meeting later this month.

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