Parents, students speak out in support of fired high school basketball coach

Coach fights termination in court

DETROIT – Parents and teachers are speaking out in support of fired Renaissance High School basketball coach Vito Jordan. 

They want Jordan to keep his job.  

“We went to two city finals, two city championships and won two division championships,” said Jordan. 

That is arguably an impressive accomplishment in Jordan's five-year tenure at the high school. Jordan said during his tenure, the team finished 68-43.

That winning record is why his firing came as a surprise. He was let go Sept. 11 by the school’s assistant principal. 

“She sat me down, her, the assistant principal, and the athletic director and said she is going to be evaluating the program, and she heard some bad things about the boys basketball program, and with that she wanted to make a change,” said Jordan. 

That controversial decision caused uproar with his players and parents, even threatening to quit the team and transfer schools. 

“The kids support and fighting for me has been tremendous,” said Jordan. 

Jordan is now fighting the school's decision in court.

On Monday, a judge told the school it couldn’t enforce the termination yet. 

Jordan said if he’s allowed to keep his job, he would go back. 

“I don’t coach basketball, for administration, I coach basketball because I love the kids, the youth and help turn them into productive citizens,” said Jordan. 

There will be an emergency hearing on the motion Tuesday at noon.

Detroit public schools released the following statement:

"Renaissance High School has consistently been one of the highest performing academic high schools in the city of Detroit. This should also be the case athletically.

As a new principal began her tenure this fall, she thoroughly reviewed all programs to ensure that the school was maximizing each and every opportunity for the success of our students.  During her review of the boys varsity basketball program, she determined, in her discretion, to make a change in coaching staff to reach the next level of excellence. This also occurred for the girls varsity program. There was nothing improper, illegal, or unusual with this decision. School level principals have the discretion to make coaching changes. Coaches are not under a binding contract.  
After an interview, Principal Stroughter extended an offer to Mr. Mark White, former head boys varsity coach at Renaissance High School, and current head boys varsity coach at River Rouge High School. Mr. White accepted the position; however, after threats of litigation, bullying, and apparently baseless attacks on his character after the acceptance of the position, Mr. White determined not to move forward with this opportunity at this time.  We will continue to actively seek a new boys varsity basketball coach at Renaissance who is aligned with Principal Stroughter’s, and the District’s, vision of excellence. 
As Detroit Public Schools Community District continues its rebuilding process, we will be unapologetic in our pursuit of exceptional talent. This includes a strategy to retain and recruit the best talent administratively, in the classroom regarding teachers, and on the field/court regarding coaches. This is what our children deserve. "

About the Authors: