A football coach from New Jersey wasn’t surprised when he was forced to resign from Camden Catholic High School. During his time with the Fighting Irish, Strom claims he consistently heard from administrators there were too many black players on the team.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Strom was asked by the school’s president Mary Whipkey “to get more white players on the field” to better connect with the alumni during his first season in 2014. “I was raised not to see race,” Strom told the Inquirer. “I tried to build this program by bringing in players based on their ability, grades and character.
Strom, who is white, was fired from Camden Catholic High School on Friday (Apr. 27) after he refused to resign. The team were standouts as they had a 34-6 record during his tenure as head coach. Strom also doubled as the golf coach and history teacher for the Cherry Hill based school; however all that changed when he found out his contract wouldn’t be renewed for neither of his three positions.
Strom believes officials pushed him out because he wasn’t “conforming with their viewpoints.” He even mentioned he was asked about his student athletes’ ethnicities on multiple occasions. However, Mary Whipkey has been quick to dispute those claims stating that the school’s diversity “makes it special.”
“We embrace our diversity at Camden Catholic,”said Whipkey. “It makes us special. The things that he said, nothing like that was ever discussed.” She did mention the only reason she may have asked Strom about the students ethnicities is because of his role of attracting eight-grade players to the school. “I’m not saying we didn’t have discussions about who was coming in,” Whipkey said. “I am saying that it is not true that that was ever a negative discussion. That was never done in a negative context.”
However, Strom alleges these conversations alone attest to the school’s discomfort with the students he was bringing in. “What other context is there?” said Strom. “What difference does it make whether a student is African American? Why would the school president even ask about that, even care about that?“
The school has issued a statement claiming racism and racial insensitivity is of high importance. “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,” read the statement from the school. “Any concern about racism or racial insensitivity is taken seriously and investigated fully.”