EAST MOLINE — United Township High School athletic director Mark “Bam” Pustelnik has stepped away from his post at the high school and has been replaced by a familiar face in former UT AD Mike Tracey.
“At the board of education meeting Monday night, the board approved a request for medical leave for Mark up through June 15th, 2019,” said Jay Morrow, United Township superintendent, “unless that is shortened or extended through mutual agreement.”
Morrow added that the request for the leave was retroactive to Jan. 28.
According to sources, Tracey began his second stint in a UT administrative role on Tuesday.
While Morrow couldn't expound on a personnel issue, Pustelnik is facing recent legal issues.
A Silvis Police Department officer recorded a traffic stop at 6:35 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at 2001 5th St., Silvis, according to Rock Island County court records. The involved vehicle was a silver 2016 Nissan that apparently had crashed into a snowbank.
Mark A. Pustelnik, 50, of Silvis, was identified as the driver, according to the court records. At the scene, he showed signs of impairment, and there was an odor of alcohol on his breath, according to records.
Pustelnik failed standardized field sobriety tests, and when his blood alcohol content was tested, it was .236, the records state. The legal limit is .08.
He faces two misdemeanor counts of driving while under the influence of alcohol, according to court records.
Pustelnik's next court date is scheduled for March 4, according to court records.
Asked if the DUI had any connection to Pustelnik's leave, Morrow said “I can not confirm or deny that.”
When asked if Pustelnik still retains his position as athletic director at the high school, Morrow replied “I can't comment on that right now. He requested a medical leave to the board of education and that was approved.”
Pustelnik's ties to the school run deep.
He is one of only two UT student-athletes to win an IHSA state wrestling title when he took gold in the 98-pound bracket at the 1985 state individual wrestling championships. He finished second the following season in the 105-pound bracket.
After a successful wrestling career at Northern Iowa and exposure on the international wrestling scene, the 1986 UT graduate returned to his prep alma mater in 1993 as a health teacher and assistant wrestling coach. The following year, he took over the Panther wrestling program as head coach, a position he held for 13 years before being promoted to assistant principal. After eight years as an assistant principal, Pustelnik was approved by the board to replace the retiring Tracey in October of 2014. Pustelnik began those duties on July 1, 2015.