By Sarah Richardson
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has withdrawn his name from consideration as the boys basketball coach at Greenbrier East High School. He also withdrew his grievance with the Greenbrier County Board of Education. Gov. Justice was listed among several candidates in the search to replace Bimbo Coles as the head boys basketball coach, and filed the grievance after he was not selected for the position in a 3-2 vote at a board meeting on Aug. 23.
Gov. Justice has coached the girls basketball team since 2000, and was head coach of the boys basketball team from 2010 to 2017.
He argued that he was the most qualified applicant, and in his scathing withdrawal letter wrote, “Vacations and parties are not Jim Justice. All I do is work, and love my work, and love the people of West Virginia, especially the kids. I understand that many of my players and supporters were at the Board meeting few days ago. Additionally, I have received hundreds of calls from people in total disbelief and apologetic over the Board’s vile action.”
Along with calling the board’s rejection “vile,” he argued that if his case had gone to court he believes he would have won. He added, “I refuse to spend time fighting HATE.”
“The law clearly states that the most qualified applicant has to be hired. Discrimination, ignoring a candidate’s qualifications, and personal biases are forbidden under all circumstances. Everyone believes unanimously that if we proceed to court, Jim Justice will be the head boys’ basketball coach. Any court would deem this level of activity is manifestly arbitrary and capricious.”
When he was first being considered to fill the coaching position, he insisted that he wouldn’t let the job interfere with his governorship. He stated in interviews that his position as governor would remain his “number one responsibility.”
He added that he would need to rely on assistant coaches to make everything work, telling MetroNews, “At my age, I’ll have to have great assistant coaches. And to be perfectly honest, they’ll have to do the work. I’ll coach the game.”
According to reports from AP News, “Much of the debate involved whether Justice could give enough attention to both the boys and girls teams while also being governor, along with paying attention to his family’s businesses.”
At least one of the BOE members said they voted “nay” due to those concerns.