A New Jersey high school football coach claims that he was fired for recruiting too many black players for the team.
Nick Strom, who also worked as a history teacher at the school, led Camden Catholic High School’s football team to a 34-6 record over the past four years. Despite that, Strom was put on leave from teaching for the rest of the year and fired from coaching both the golf and the football team. He believes the decision was made because he went against the administration’s wishes to put more white students on the team.
Strom claims that school president Mary Whipkey asked him to add white players, who would connect better with the school’s alumni base. He says that the topic of players’ race came up about “10 to 20” times since he started at the school in 2013.
“When I’d have a list of potential freshmen, the first question I’d be asked is if they were white or black,” he said. “I was confused about why the question was, ‘How can we get more white players in the program or on the field?’” He told the Courier Post.
The school, including Whipkey, adamantly denied these allegations, saying, “It has come to our attention that [Strom] has chosen to muddy the reasons for his dismissal with baseless accusations against the school administration. Any concern about racism or racial insensitivity is taken seriously and fully investigated.” They claim instead that Strom was removed for violating teacher dress codes by wearing sneakers and arguing with another teacher in front of students.
A group of 25 football players and parents gathered in the parking lot to protest the school’s treatment of Strom. The administration listened to their feelings. Later on Monday, 22 students walked out of class.
Family members who met with the ex-coach add that he is less concerned with his career than with the fate of minority students at the school.