Another Basketball Coach Replaced
View Park Preparatory Accelerated High School has been a model of consistency since 2003, churning out academic scholars and athletic championships to boot.
Located at the corner of Crenshaw and Slauson and founded under the Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools (ICEF) umbrella, it has established itself as a premier learning institution, one that has attracted national attention and the attention of hundreds of parents who place their child name on a waiting list to be admitted.
View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School is a public charter school that believes every child deserves a college education—ICEF’s mission is to prepare all students to attend and compete at the top colleges and universities in the nation, according to its own website.
A financial scandal by its founders and previous operators nearly destroyed dreams of its 4,300 students who attend some 13 schools from grades K-12 through out the region, but subsequently it was saved and now continues to thrive.
However, there is a growing concern that the quest of athletic championships is beginning to cut into that sterling reputation.
Granted View Park Prep has been dominant in both girls and boys basketball throughout the years and football and recently won the Los Angeles City Section football championship and played for the opportunity to compete in a CIF State Bowl game.
On Monday Dec. 16, head varsity basketball coach Harold Jones was relieved of his coaching duties after parents and players allegedly didn’t agree with his coaching methods.
According to reliable sources, parents accused Jones, who led View Park to the City title last season and was named Coach of the Year, using inappropriate language to inspire his players.
Jones adamantly denied the charges.
Nonetheless on Monday as Jones was hearing rumors circulating that he may lose his coaching job because of a letter drafted by the parents and sent to the school principal and athletic director demanding that Jones be replaced or the team would not participate.
Jones, 48, had coached the team to a 2-2 start this season.
Athletic Director Robert Ambers, who also serves as head football coach, called Jones and left him a message to call Human Resources and when he did he was informed that he was relieved of his coaching duties.
Reportedly, the parents wanted Jones replaced by assistant coach Ken Henderson and their request was granted.
Winning is nothing new to View Park, the boys basketball team has either won or played in the small school championship every year since 2007.
View Park or Ambers then got greedy.
Ambers hired Jones as the head coach prior to last season after he bolted from St. Bernards in Westchester and brought along with him two high sought after sophomores Chance Comanche and Brodericks Jones.
Both players range in height from 6’10 to 7’0 and were named co-Player of the Year following last season.
Brodericks transferred to Lawndale following last season , but Comanche returned and all appeared well until last Saturday Dec. 14 when after a game in the Beverly Hills tournament parents of players on the team held a private meeting at Shakeys Pizza and determine they did not want Harold Jones to coach the team anymore.
I reached Ambers late Monday and he only wanted to talk about his football team which had recently lost in the regional playoff, but when pressed about the current situation he said that he would call back. Subsequent phone calls went unanswered.
Ambers has been the one constant in the athletic program, as basketball players and coaches have came and went, he has steadfastly remained.
View Park basketball team has a cast of six transfer players, two from Lou Danzler, which closed, one from Washington Prep, another from Santa Monica and one from Woodland Hills Taft.
I admire those student-athletes who want the academic challenge that View Park offers and I respect a parent’s freedom to choose what is best for their child, but there are more questions here than answers.
While View Park is highly successful in athletics, it still does not have a gym to practice in.
The school has a right to have whomever it wants coach its basketball team, but when parents not only decide they want the coach out but also pick his successor that signals lack of institutional control.