After four years of coaching varsity basketball at Dunkirk High School, Jerome Moss was officially relieved of his duties Thursday evening.
The Dunkirk Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate Moss from the coaching position, effective Oct. 16. Moss allegedly allowed a student to play in a jayvee football game while knowing the student had suffered an injury prior to the game.
During the public portion of the meeting (which was before the vote), Moss pleaded with the board to reconsider his termination.
OBSERVER Photo by Greg Fox
Former Dunkirk High School Varsity Basketball Coach Jerome Moss asked the Dunkirk Board of Education to reconsider terminating him during its regular meeting Thursday.
"The decision to terminate me was already made before I was given the opportunity to present my side of the situations involved," he said. "I have been diligent in maintaining a professional and respectful relationship with the administration, faculty and community. Being immediately released from all coaching duties ... has left me disappointed and saddened by the manner in which I was terminated."
Moss said he had received assurance from the player's parent that a doctor's release note was given to the high school nurse, thus clearing the player to play in the game.
"I can present evidence that shows there was a clerical error regarding paperwork with the doctor's release to me and the (athletic director)," he said. "This information is critical because of the domino effect it had on the outcome.
"I successfully completed four accident reports this past season," Moss added. "I would never intentionally place a student in harm's way."
Moss attempted to defended his actions again.
"I asked the head varsity football coach if he had a player we could use on jayvee," Moss continued.
"Due to my concern with our low numbers, the player in question was recommended by the head coach and sent to me to play the morning of the game," he said.
Moss concluded his comments by reflecting on his past four years as a head coach of the varsity basketball team, which includes an undefeated season and the first league title in Dunkirk in almost 30 years. He said he has also had the team participate in four off-season tournaments and has organized the first DHS basketball tournament, which he set up as a fundraiser.
"I am not above being corrected," he said. "I did my very best to follow all the rules. I am a person of integrity and I expect to be treated in the same professional manner, especially when it comes to my good name and character."
Board President Kenneth Kozlowski said the board could not comment on Moss' termination due to the nature of the situation being a "personnel issue."
After the meeting, the board entered into executive session to discuss a personnel matter. It was unclear whether this related to the coaching position in some way.
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