The Bayonne Board of Education hired a new high school football coach at Tuesday evening’s meeting in light of calls to rehire Dwayne Williams, also appointing Hector Gonzalez as their newest trustee.
“The attitude that was lacking the last three years, Bayonne has been looking for a coach … Dwayne was their best option … The energy this year was a complete shift from the Bayonne team last year,” said Elijah Ortiz.
“Those bleachers was packed and the energy on the field was like home. The coaching staff was filled with knowledge because they were ready to teach us decencies from the jump.”
Williams didn’t have his contract renewed last month due to the October 29th game against Barringer High School getting called early after fights broke out on the field.
While board counsel said they were following the recommendations of the Super Football Conference report, though an attorney for Williams argued that the report called for him to be placed on one year of probation, not to be terminated.
HCV has submitted a formal request seeking a copy of the report.
Pat Desmond, a long time political operative who is good friends with Williams, questioned the timing of the new hiring.
“Why is this being done now and not in the spring when it’s usually done?,” he asked.
“It was brought to us by superintendent at this time, we are just here to take his recommendation. We are not the ones to decide when to bring it before us,” Board President Maria Valado responded.
Desmond responded that before they consider the measure, they should know whose being hired, who is pushing for the hire, and why security was negligent at the October 29th game, vowing to fight the decision going forward.
“Somebody gotta stand up here and do the right thing: this is nonsense now, politics at its best … I’m not gonna shut up about this, you need to take a hard look at what’s going on here and see what’s going on here and investigate what’s going on here because the investigation that was run by this school was a scam.”
Williams himself, who also had supporters speak at last week’s council meeting, said he respected the board’s decision to consider hiring Jerome Hayes, but said the circumstances they encountered were very different.
“First and foremost, I want you to understand one thing: this is not about Dwayne Williams, this is not about Jerome Hayes, it’s about these kids. I see the support that Jerome got, and I appreciate that, but that’s the support I never got from day 1,” he said.
He also called Hayes a good guy and a good coach, who he had actually coached in the past, but further stated that he turned down coaching opportunities in Iowa, Kansas City, and Oklahoma to stay in the Peninsula City.
“So my question is why stop me and not hire Jerome Hayes from day 1? And bring him back here now, back here today, to put this thing together that I put together,” also pointing out that the superintendent, athletic director, and security were not in attendance at the game in question.
The resolution to hire Hayes passed 7-0(1) after a motion by Trustee Denis Wilbeck was seconded by Vice President Christopher Munoz. Valado abstained on the vote.
Just before the meeting concluded, the BOE selected Hector Gonzalez as their newest trustee following the resignation of Trustee David “Doc” Watson.
His nomination was approved unanimously (8-0).