Gene Allen was not given proper notice that his coaching job was in danger when the Board of Education voted not to renew him last month, a judge ruled Monday.
The email Allen received saying his renewal was being voted on at the Nov. 20 meeting did not show any indication that it would be anything other than his normal annual renewal, Judge Michael Blee said.
Instead, the vote turned into an issue when the board had questions concerning a former player’s father, who had been regularly attending meetings to complain about the coach, including carrying a sign that quoted a text conversation involving Allen and the man’s son.
The board went into executive session to discuss the issue, then returned and voted against renewal. Only member John Devlin voted for Allen.
But as soon as the issue arose, the board should have stopped the meeting, and held off on a vote until Allen could be properly notified, Blee ruled.
The lateness of the decision — just days before the season was set to begin — could cause “irreparable harm,” the judge said.
There may have been students who chose Atlantic City High School because of Coach Allen, he noted.No members of the school board were at the hearing.
Attorney Tracy Riley said she would bring the decision to her clients, and then decide how to proceed.
“We really want to put this in the rear-view mirror,” said Allen’s attorney, William Donio. “It’s the best thing for everyone involved. … He’s the coach. We believed he was the coach as of (the day of the vote)
A judge has reinstated Atlantic City High School’s ousted basketball coach.
The order signed by Superior Court Judge Michael Blee on Wednesday reinstates Gene Allen “until further notice.” A court date has been set for Dec. 10 … Read more