Two weeks ago, the DeSoto ISD board voted to take no action on championship winning coach Todd Peterman’s contract after reports that his contract would not be renewed. The news allegedly broke an hour and a half before the meeting. Tonight, the board will reconvene to potentially decide his fate.
Here’s what we know so far:
Rumors have been rampant about the reasoning for giving Peterman the axe. Some have said its race related; others have favored the idea that Peterman violated UIL rules. Board president Carl Sherman Jr. released a statement regarding the evaluation on the DeSoto frontman after more than three hours in executive session on April 24.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) April 25, 2017
Just a few days later, Superintendent Dr. David C. Harris penned an open letter to the community.
— Matt Stepp (@Matt_Stepp817) April 29, 2017
Reportedly, the board is split on how to proceed with coach Peterman with half wanting him sacked; the others want to give him a contract extension. According to WFAA Sports, the investigation concerns multiple UIL infractions, including recruiting violations, practicing above the mandated 8-hour weekly limit, grade fixing and chewing tobacco on the sideline. Coach Peterman admits to the tobacco as a one-time occurrence, but dismisses the rest as heresy.
The accusations stemmed from an anonymous handwritten letter sent to the UIL in December. Coach Peterman was questioned by the UIL through “a ten second call”, before they sent the note to DeSoto. According to UIL rules, the investigative process requires a school to initiate their own internal review first. The UIL then analyzes proposed penalties to see if they need to become involved in the procedure again.
Some have raised an eyebrow at the entire situation and dismissed it as “racially motivated”. DeSoto is predominately African-American (78.2% of students) and four of the seven board members are black. Board member Jerry Hall – who is white – was in hot water last year for imploring the school to hire more “white administrators and white teachers.”
During the closed session regarding coach Peterman’s future with the program, about 40 Eagles players attended to support their coach. Parents have also pledged their support. According to Terry Orr, a former Washington Redskins receiver who had three sons play football for DeSoto and one on the current coaching staff, the situation was a “national embarrassment”, as per SportsDay HS.
Coach Peterman served as the Eagles offensive coordinator for seven years under Claude Mathis before taking over head coaching duties in 2015. After a subpar 6-6 first year, coach Peterman lead DeSoto to their first state championship last December behind an undefeated record.
“I’m thankful the administration gave me another shot, first of all,” Peterman said following the state championship victory, in regards to the evolution of learning from a losing year and improving from past competitive mistakes.
As for what could happen Monday night, it still is anyone’s guess. Peterman’s lawyer appears to be optimistic about his client’s fate but no one knows for certain.
Desoto head football coach Todd Peterman's lawyer says they've been given 'every assurance' that Peterman will be renewed as head coach.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) May 8, 2017
But after tonight’s meeting, we’ll see if the DeSoto administration gives Peterman another shot.
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