A year ago, Lenny Jordan was The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania girls' track and field coach of the year. This season, the former West Catholic coach is without a job.
Jordan was fired in March for what West Catholic athletic director Brian Fluck called "a violation of archdiocese [of Philadelphia] and West Catholic policy."
"I can't say anything other than that," Fluck said yesterday. Brother Tim Ahern, the president at West Catholic, made the decision, Fluck said. Ahern, out of the office until Monday, was unavailable for comment.
"That's [wrong]. . . . They fired me because I went to nationals," Jordan said. "Nobody told me that I couldn't go."
Jordan said that Mary DiMasi, the West Catholic assistant principal for student affairs, told him only that the school wasn't going to pay for his team to go the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York in March.
"So I just went ahead and paid for it myself," said Jordan, who was replaced by Lincoln Townsend.
While Jordan paid for the entry fees, he said the runners' parents paid for their lodging. The coach said he was fired over the phone shortly after returning from the track meet.
"It was a violation because they wanted it to be a violation," said Jordan, who spent 11 seasons as the Burrs coach. "They were looking for a way to get me. I've been going to nationals for over 11 years. That's why this is totally crazy."
Jordan said that jealously in the athletic department led to his firing. Under his guidance, the West Catholic girls' team produced some of the nation's premier sprinters and relay teams.
"Anytime somebody mentions West Catholic," he said, "they are talking about the track team."
Fluck, who is also West Catholic's football coach, wouldn't comment further other than to say, "The bottom line is [Jordan] did what he did."