EXCLUSIVE: Former Dunbar AD, basketball coach talks after district doesn't retain him
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Dunbar High School basketball coach Peter Pullen is out of a job and spoke only to FOX 45, calling it a Dayton Public Schools vendetta after a now infamous Dunbar/Belmont football game.
Pullen was Dunbar's athletic director at the time of that football game in 2016.
He had been the boys basketball coach for 13 seasons, had a 289-54 record, won 4 D-II state titles and helped get the team to the final fours 6 times. He also coached the Dunbar girls for 6 seasons to a 109-29 record, and had a 44-0 record in the Dayton City League. For the previous season, he helped take Dunbar to the regional finals. On Monday, he found out he didn't get his job and that the district hired someone else.
"I don't know why. I don't know if it's fuel from the fiasco of the football thing, but my thing is I'm going to be a man and I'm going to tell the truth," Pullen said in an interview Wednesday.
Pullen is the second coach to not be renewed by Dayton Public Schools after the Ohio High School Athletic Association investigated the football game between Dunbar and Belmont, and allegations Dunbar students were told to lose the game on purpose after playing in an eligible player.
Pullen admitted it was his fault the player's GPA was in accurately counted.
"What we got in trouble for had nothing to do with that, but we got in trouble for is allegations of saying throw the football game," Pullen said, a conversation he was not privy to.
Dunbar football coach Darran Powell's contract was not renewed by the school district in June, but he was hired back after public outcry.
Powell also talked exclusively with FOX 45, and maintained the call to throw the football game came from district athletic director Mark Baker.
Baker's employment contract was recently renewed.
"Personally I think it's a little vendetta," Pullen said.
He resigned after the football incident as school athletic director but was still the basketball coach until Monday.
"In the 13 years I've been boys [coach] this is the first time of ever had to interview for the job," Pullen explained.
He said he feels the job interview was a set up so he would lose out on his job because of a formal reprimand he was handed, and how it would impact his hiring on the DPS points based hiring system.
The reprimand, Pullen said was for allegedly not paying to use a school gym in his summer shootout tournament.
"That I did not pay for the gym, or send any financial statements in for 2016 which, no I did not pay for the gym, I've never had to pay for the gym," Pullen said, "I've been hosting it for 12 years."
Pullen said he has lost respect for Dunbar and school district administration who were on the hiring committee.
He said he had planned to retire from his coaching job in a few years, and wanted to go out on his own terms.
"Told me that they wouldn't retain me, that they were going in another direction," Pullen said about how Dunbar's principal informed him, "I think it's just an excuse."
Pullen said he was not sure he would take the job back if the public pushes for it, but said he is grateful for all the support he has received.
FOX 45 reached out to Dayton Public Schools and district Athletic Director Mark Baker for a comment, they would not talk about Pullen but sent us the procedures for hiring a coach.