Vito Jordan loses battle to return to Detroit Renaissance

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Vito Jordan

Detroit — Venias “Vito” Jordan was denied an opportunity to return as head boys basketball coach at Detroit Renaissance by federal judge Gershwin Drain at the U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday.

“They denied our preliminary injunction, which would have allowed me to be the coach while the case continues, so I won’t be going back to coach,” Jordan said.

Jordan was fired last month by Verynda Stroughter in her first days on the job as the new principal at Renaissance. She replaced him with River Rouge head coach Mark White, who then declined the job and was later fired at River Rouge.

Renaissance’s new coach is former Southfield Christian assistant John White.

Jordan was head coach at Renaissance the last five years, guiding it to consecutive PSL title game appearances in 2015 and 2016. Renaissance was 15-7 last season.

Renaissance was expected to challenge for the PSL and state championships with the top two players in the league in 6-foot-7 Carrington McCaskill and 6-5 guard/forward Chandler Turner leading the way.

Jordan had taken his players to eight camps during the summer, including Michigan State, Ohio State and Buffalo, to prepare them for the season while gaining recruiting exposure.

Stroughter fired Jordan following her evaluation of the boys basketball program.

“I’m hurt, my kids are hurt,” Jordan said after Friday’s ruling. “We worked so hard for this for a number of years. I drove Carrington (McCaskill) home and he cried the whole way home. He stood by me the entire time. It’s rough on all of us.”

While Jordan’s case was being decided the past few weeks, he said he had interviewed for the head coaching job at Southfield A&T. However, Jordan learned Friday that Southfield A&T would not offer him the job.

“I just feel bad for everybody involved with our Renaissance program,” he said. “I really can’t believe it. I mean, we had a chance to win a state championship. We were at our peak. I’m still trying to keep everybody together over there. I guess it’s part of life. The kids got to stay together it because nobody cares about excuses.

"They are just going to have to bounce back.”