West Virginia governor withdraws from contentious bid to coach boys basketball
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) withdrew himself from consideration for a high school boys basketball coaching job on Tuesday, accusing the school board that rejected his application of “hate,” the West Virginia Metro News reported.
Justice is already the girls basketball coach at Greenbrier East High School, and during a meeting last month Greenbrier County officials wondered how he could coach both teams while also serving as governor and running his family businesses, according to The Associated Press. The school board voted 3-2 to reject the superintendent’s request to hire him.
In a letter to Greenbrier County school officials this week published by the Metro News, Justice asserted that he was the most qualified for the job.
“The law clearly states that the most qualified applicant has to be hired,” the letter read. “One would have to think that 20 years as head coach, 26 seasons (6 boys, 20 girls), with all exemplary evaluations and incredible success should really speak volumes.”
The letter came after Justice’s lawyers filed a grievance against the Greenbrier County School Board.
According to the AP, the board was looking to replace former NBA player Bimbo Coles, who resigned from the position in July. Justice previously coached the boys team from 2010 to 2017 and has coached the girls team since 2000.
Richard Parker, a member of the Greenbrier County School Board, said the issue was not whether the governor was qualified, but rather if he should be focused on that role at the moment.
“I have no animosity toward the governor at all,” Parker told The New York Times. “I just don’t see how he can be at both the girls’ games and boys’ games and still do his job as governor.”
In his letter, Justice said that the “hate” of the board members “really hurts.”
“Always, my first responsibilities will be the Governorship of our State, but with more hard work helping kids achieve goodness is something that I will never be ashamed of,” Justice said.
“Nevertheless, I am withdrawing my name from pursuing the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach position. I refuse to spend time fighting HATE,” the governor continued. “We need to move forward.”