‘I’m hopeful’: Vito Jordan could be reinstated as Renaissance coach

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Vito Jordan

Vito Jordan could get his job back as head boys basketball coach at Detroit Renaissance on Tuesday if Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Martha Snow rules in his favor.

Jordan was head coach at Renaissance the last five years, guiding his teams to consecutive PSL championship game appearances in 2015 and 2016 and to a 15-7 record last season.

However, when Verynda Stroughter took over as Renaissance principal last month, she did an evaluation of the boys basketball program and fired Jordan.

Jordan filed a lawsuit through his attorney, Andrew A. Paterson, claiming he had a verbal agreement with former Renaissance principal Anita Williams, who has since taken a similar job in Birmingham, Alabama.

Stroughter offered the basketball job to River Rouge coach Mark White, who accepted, then turned down the Renaissance job, then was fired at River Rouge.

Stroughter then hired John White, who was a longtime assistant at Southfield Christian.

Paterson filed suit in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeking to have Jordan reinstated as Renaissance coach. Snow called for an emergency hearing for Tuesday at noon and temporarily prohibited Stroughter from making any further decisions regarding the Renaissance basketball job.

According to Renaissance senior basketball player Chandler Turner, White introduced himself to the players during a meeting last Wednesday.

While that meeting took place, another top Renaissance player, senior Carrington McCaskill, had a meeting of his own with Stroughter.

“He (White) didn’t talk to me; I was talking to Principal Stroughter, asking why she fired my coach, and she never told me why, she just talked about the interview (she had with Jordan) and how that went,” McCaskill said.

McCaskill, who is committed to Florida Atlantic, reiterated that he would not play for Renaissance unless Jordan is reinstated as coach.

“She (Stroughter) asked me about that and I said yes, that’s true, I’m not going to play if my coach isn’t the coach,” McCaskill said. “My mind is staying focused on a championship and that’s what I want to go get and I don’t want to do it with no other coach besides Vito. I want my team to get the credit with Coach Vito. He’s spent a lot of time with me, a lot of time with us.

“I’m loyal, but I want to know where that loyalty is in the administration. I want my coach back. He deserves to be here.”

Jordan admits he doesn’t know what to expect Tuesday.

“I’m prepared for anything, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Jordan said. “I’m hopeful. The kids are very optimistic, so hopefully it works out.

“Everybody is still there, nobody has transferred and that makes me feel good. If I get to go back and finish this ride with the guys it’s a blessing because we put so much time and energy in it. That’s an understatement, how much time we put into it to get to a championship level.

“And if I don’t get it, those guys have to overcome adversity, fight through whatever and understand the goal. I tried to tell Chandler that the other day – you still have to lead your group if I’m there or not. I hope they can pull together because they’re great kids. They should be enjoying themselves and not worrying about all of this stuff.”