In a stunning development, Woodrow Wilson football coach Preston Brown has been relieved of his duties by the Camden School District, two sources told The Inquirer on Saturday.
Brown, who led Woodrow Wilson to the South Jersey Group 3 championship last season, also has been terminated from his position as the East Camden’s school’s dean of culture and climate, the two sources said.
Brown declined to comment Saturday, citing the advice of his attorney.
"All options are not finalized right now. ... I’ve been instructed by my attorney to remain silent at this time,” Brown said in a text.
Both sources indicated that Camden school officials are considering a scenario in which Brown would be re-instated as football coach but not as a school administrator.
The shocking move comes two weeks before the opening of school and less than a month before Woodrow Wilson is scheduled to open its football season, Sept. 14 against Camden Catholic.
Brown had been suspended with pay during the Camden Board of Education’s June 25 meeting stemming from circumstances surrounding Woodrow Wilson’s prom, where Brown had served as a chaperone.
Brown received an email from the school district’s central administration late Thursday afternoon that indicated that he had been terminated from his administrative position, a source said.
Brown informed the team Thursday night, the source said.
Woodrow Wilson assistant coach Brandon Bather, who has been the defensive coordinator since 2016, is running the team, the sources said.
Woodrow Wilson athletic director Will Hickson was unavailable for comment.
Brown, a 2003 Woodrow Wilson graduate who played at Tulane University, had been coach of his alma mater for the last four seasons. He rejuvenated a struggling program, guiding the Tigers to the last two South Jersey Group 3 title games.
In November, Woodrow Wilson beat Burlington Township in the sectional championship game. It was the program’s first South Jersey title since 2001, when Brown was a junior linebacker.
Brown’s teams went 29-16 in four seasons. In the three seasons before Brown became coach, Woodrow Wilson was a combined 6-24.
Under Brown, Woodrow Wilson produced several NCAA Division 1 college recruits. Last year’s team featured wide receiver Stanley King, now a freshman at Rutgers, and quarterback Nick Kargman, now a freshman at Western Michigan.
Kargman set a state record last season with 3,963 passing yards as Woodrow Wilson went 9-4. He also set the state record for passing yards in a game with 539 in a victory over Cedar Creek.