WASHINGTON - A legendary D.C. basketball coach will soon be back on the court.
Vaughn Jones was abruptly fired from Coolidge Senior High School back on Halloween after he was accused of influencing a counselor to change a player's transcript.
Jones sued D.C. Public Schools to get his job back as parents and students have been fighting on his side.
On Tuesday, a D.C. Superior Court judge ruled on an emergency measure that reinstates Jones immediately.
“This is a blessing for us,” he told us. “Just to be able to get back to the students – I know they have missed me. I’ve missed them.”
Jones along with junior varsity head coach Antonio Pixley were both fired on Oct. 31 just days before the basketball season started.
D.C. Public Schools alleged that the coaches influenced a school counselor to change former player Justin Route's records so he could play a fifth year.
They denied the allegation and said they have the evidence to prove it in court. The judge agreed that the coaches will most likely win their lawsuit to get their jobs back permanently. He also said that the courts will not allow the city government to treat people like this.
“We just need to send a message to District of Columbia government that you can't just whimsically make decisions that have such a far reaching impact with no evidence,” said Yaida Ford, the attorney for the coaches.
Parents of the senior students on the team stood for three hours in a court hallway during the hearing. Their sons are depending on Coach Jones for college scholarships.
“Before Vaughn left, he had coaches looking at my son, recruiting my son and those same recruitments weren’t there after he left because the communication wasn't there anymore,” said Verona Hill. “For me, this was a big decision.”
“I’m very glad, especially for my son, and also for [Coach Jones],” said Kevin Perry. “He’s a very good coach and his passion for basketball is really excellent. He’s really about the kids and I just love him as a coach also.”
“I’m ecstatic,” said Fern Bolden. “What happened was supposed to happen. You cannot keep a good man down.”
"We've been really playing hard, but I think my leadership will help move us in a different direction,” said Jones. “I have to commend the coaches that have been coaching now. They have been doing the best that they can. But their roles have been changed, so hopefully we can get back to some normalcy."
After the hearing ended, we asked the lawyer for the government to come talk to us, but she referred us to a spokeswoman for D.C. Public Schools who said that they can't comment on personnel matters.
Keep in mind, this is only a temporary measure. Everybody will be back in court on February 5 where another judge will decide if Jones can finish the basketball season.
“It’s still early in the season so we have some time to make up some ground and I think it should infuse the kids, make them feel better, and then hearing my voice again and I’m able to get back on the court,” he said.
Jones has been a coach for 17 years and had spent the last nine years at Coolidge.
He was a local star in the 1990s playing at George Washington University and at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland.