Judge rules Renaissance basketball coach can't keep job as he sues district

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A Wayne County judge decided Tuesday the former Renaissance High School basketball coach will not be able to keep his job as his lawsuit against the school district plays out in federal court.

There has been plenty of collateral damage as a result of this coaching controversy with firings, near-hirings and an allegation of an affair.

"The allegations of a relationship (are) with a woman I don't even know," said Coach Mark White. "It hurt my wife and my children." The former River Rouge High School basketball coach says his reputation has been sullied and family life upended after allegations that he had an affair with Renaissance Principal Verynda Stroughter.

That same principal fired former Coach Vito Jordan and sought to replace him with Coach White, a Renaissance alum and former head coach at the school with a celebrated track record.

"In my eight years there, we won two state championships; we won three city championships; we produced over 20 kids that went on to earn college scholarships," White said. "I didn't pursue another position, they pursued me. I get pursued every year because I've had a lot of success as a coach but River Rouge is the place I ultimately wanted to be."

Jordan's lawyer argued in court that Stroughter fired his client, in part, because of the alleged relationship with White.

FOX 2: "Where did that allegation come from?"

"Allegations, rumors, I don't know. I will let that stuff handle itself in court," Jordan said. "That didn't come from me, but I'll let the courts handle that."

Coach Jordan is now suing the principal and the Detroit Public Schools Community District for a half a million dollars in federal court for wrongful termination. Jordan got wind he would be bounced from the program after a conversation with Stroughter in mid-September.

FOX 2: "What was her reasoning for wanting you gone?"

"She heard bad things about the boys’ basketball program in particular," Jordan said.

FOX 2: "Bad things like what?"

"I asked but I never really received an answer," he said.

But the district says coaches are not under contract and principals have the right to fire them. It's a shake-up for a pair of accomplished coaches.

Jordan is now out of a job and White just accepted a head coaching position at Summit Academy in Romulus after he was fired from River Rouge High School last week -- just days after turning down the coaching gig at Renaissance.

And right now Coach White is at Renaissance on a temporary basis pending the outcome of that lawsuit. White was supposed to coach at Old Redford Academy this season before he was tapped to come here.

So we're talking three different schools, three sets of kids dealing with big changes as a result of this coaching controversy.