DCPS fires Dunbar football coach Cherry

September 12, 2011

DC Public Schools fired first-year Dunbar Coach Ashaa Cherry on Monday for using three ineligible players in the Crimson Tide’s season opener and ruled the football team must forfeit a second DCIAA league game for its role in a fight that ended that same game.

According to a DCPS statement, Dunbar administrators prior to the season identified the three students as academically ineligible and their names weren’t submitted to the DCIAA for eligibility approval.

Those three players participated in Dunbar’s 22-8 loss to Dunbar-Baltimore in the I-95 Kickoff Classic two weeks ago. Dunbar’s game against the Poets was called with 4 minutes 33 seconds left after a fight broke out following the Crimson Tide’s lone touchdown.

Last week, DCPS interim Athletic Director Willie Jackson ruled that Dunbar must forfeit its first DCIAA West — an Oct. 7 game against Bell — as a penalty for its role in the fight.

Monday, DCPS went a step further, announcing that the school must forfeit two games, which means the Crimson Tide will also not play Cardozo on Oct. 14.

The DC Municipal Record states that “school officers and coaches who knowingly allow ineligible students to participate in an interscholastic athletic program or contest shall be subject to disciplinary action.” The DCMR also states that s school must forfeit any games in which ineligible players were used.

Cherry declined to comment Monday and Dunbar Athletic Director Johnnie Walker wasn’t available to comment. Prior to Saturday’s 34-28 win over Southern Durham (N.C.), Walker ruled that two Dunbar players have been issued one-game suspensions for their role in the fight.

Cherry took over at Dunbar last spring after Craig Jefferies stepped down following a 15-year run that saw the Crimson Tide play in the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA title game, 12 times, winning eight.

The interim coach is Willie Bennett. He was an assistant under Cherry.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.
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