D.C. Public Schools fired H.D. Woodson football coach Greg Fuller on Tuesday and mandated the Warriors forfeit one of their wins this season for the use of an ineligible player, according to DCPS Athletic Director Stephanie Evans. Fuller’s termination and the forfeit are related, Evans said.
Fuller, who has served as Woodson’s coach since 1999, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he was “working on some stuff right now. There are some allegations that are not true. Once I get things straight, get some legal assistance, I’ll get back with you.”
Woodson has won three of the past four D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association championships (including three straight from 2008 to ’10) and advanced to the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA title game, seven times under Fuller.
Steve Scott, Woodson’s defensive coordinator, has been named the school’s interim coach and will lead the Warriors through at least the remainder of the season. Woodson plays Saturday at McKinley.
The player in question is senior defensive back Darwyn Kelly, according to a Woodson source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the situation.
Following the Warriors’ 32-8 win Sept. 28 at Wilson — in which Kelly returned two interceptions for touchdowns — DCPS officials notified Woodson they were investigating Kelly’s residency, according to the source. The source said Kelly lives with his mother and that DCPS was looking into a claim that Kelly’s mother resides in Maryland. Non-District residents are not eligible to attend D.C. public schools, unless they pay out-of-state tuition.
Woodson must forfeit its victory at Wilson, and Kelly has not played for the Warriors (2-5) in either of their games since then.
Kelly, who has orally committed to play at Illinois, transferred from Carroll and enrolled at Woodson prior to this season, but he withdrew and ended up attending Phelps Engineering High, according to the source.
Phelps does not offer varsity football. Students at D.C. public schools that do not offer a particular sport may compete in that sport at another D.C. public school, pending DCPS approval. Kelly, once enrolled at Phelps, elected to play for Woodson. Phelps Principal Willie Jackson did not respond to calls left Wednesday seeking comment.
The Woodson source said Kelly played in the first five games of the season for the Warriors only after Woodson believed Kelly had been approved by the DCPS.
Evans and a DCPS spokeswoman said the organization would not comment on “the specifics of personnel actions” and declined to provide further detail on Fuller’s firing or Kelly’s eligibility. Woodson Athletic Director LaQurisha Gray declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday.
Kelly did not comment when reached on his cellphone Wednesday. He did not respond to subsequent text messages and voice mails left seeking comment.
While Fuller has been removed from his position as Woodson’s football coach, he remains employed at the school as a physical education teacher.