A white New Jersey high school football coach is alleging he was fired for having too many black players on his team.
Nick Strom, the former head coach of Camden (N.J.) Catholic, was let go last Friday. He was told by administrators he would not be retained as a history teacher and was asked to surrender his jobs as the school's head football and golf coach.
According to CBS3, Strom was fired by the school one day before he was set to collect tenure. This decision set off protests by parents, players and other supporters of Strom.
Before he was fired, Strom told the Courier Post he believed school President Mary Whipkey and Principal Heather Crisci were trying to get rid of him because he had too many black players on his 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 alleged. “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 estimated the topic of race came up “10 to 20 times” with Whipkey since he was hired as football coach 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?’”
Whipkey strongly denied the accusations. A subsequent statement was released on the matter as well.
"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 had been the head coach of Camden Catholic since 2014. In four seasons, he compiled a 34-6 record and reached four straight state tournaments.
While Strom's allegations are unproven, this whole situation has already gotten ugly and seems like it will get uglier.