A New Jersey high school football coach is charging his school with racism, after he said they fired him for having too many black players on the team.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey’s Camden Catholic High School reportedly told the coach on April 27 that the school would not renew his contract as a history teacher and as a result, he would have to “resign” as the school’s football and golf coach, the Courier Post newspaper reported.
But Strom alleges that the school fired him because he has too many black students on the team.
“I think this is from me not conforming with their viewpoints on what they want the student body and the football team to look like,” Strom claimed. “I’ve tried to build this program into one that’s based on kids being of ability, high character, and high grades.
“From day one, the administration told me they did not approve of the ratio of black to white students,” Strom added.
The now-dismissed coach also alleged that the argument that he had too many black players was brought up in conversations “10 to 20 times” by Camden school President Mary Whipkey.
“When I’d have a list of potential freshmen, the first question I’d be asked is if they were white or black,” Strom told the paper. “I was confused about why the question was, ‘How can we get more white players in the program or on the field?'”
Whipkey and school officials have categorically denied the claims that they have acted in a racist manner against the school’s black players.
“We are not that kind of environment, and we take it very seriously when those accusations are made,” Whipkey told the paper. “This is a special community here. We embrace our diversity here. Those accusations are not true.”
The school also released a statement:
We do not comment on personnel matters, but it has come to our attention that he has chosen to muddy the reasons for his dismissal with baseless accusations against the school and administration. Any concern about racism or racial insensitivity is taken seriously and investigated fully.
Strom went on to allege that school officials also quizzed him on whether or not players came from a two-parent home or were being raised by single parents.
Finally, the coach is defiant over being dismissed, as coach. He understands that he will no longer be a teacher at Camden, but he is refusing to resign as the school’s coach.
Some of the team’s students and their parents have rallied in Strom’s support, but citing the fact that the case is an ongoing personnel matter, school officials would not answer the supporters’ questions.
“Since Strom became coach, Camden Catholic is 34-6, with a 34-2 record against South Jersey teams,” the Courier Post noted.
This successful record, supporters say, is the best example of why he should be retained as coach.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.