Erasto Hatchett, who coached the Raleigh Word of God boys basketball team last season, is no longer on the staff of the school, according to Rev. Frank Summerfield, the school founder.
Summerfield said Hatchett had been hired as a guidance counselor last fall and recently had been terminated.
"It had absolutely nothing with his basketball coaching abilities," Summerfield said. "Our principal [Anesha Pittman] assessed his performance as a a guidance counselor and recommended he be terminated. End of story."
Hatchett said his written job evaluation of three weeks ago told a very different story. He said every evaluation he had received had been positive.
“I have been in education since 1998 and I was the teacher of the year last year [at Cannon School in Concord],” he said. “My professionalism and my work in education has never been questioned. I have had no dialogue with the school about my dismissal. I was completely blind-sided by this decision.
“But I know it is their decision.”
Summerfield said Hatchett had not been hired to coach and the school's thrust is academic.
Hatchett said he had relocated his family to Raleigh because he had been hired as the school’s basketball coach and guidance counselor.
“I want to take the high road here,” Hatchett said. “I will look back on the year and be pleased with the impact I had on the young men. I think I planted some seeds that will bear fruit eventually.”
Summerfield said he was not at liberty to discuss a possible successor.
"Athletics have received much more attention than I ever expected," Summerfield said.
Last year, Word of God's John Wall was the top-ranked basketball recruit in the country. He signed with Kentucky.
This year, senior C.J. Leslie is ranked among the top dozen high school players in the country. He is unsigned and is not committed. The Rams were eliminated in the second round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs and finished 20-8.
Red Springs Flora McDonald coach Dearrick Bond said he was sad that Hatchett had been terminated.
"His team won 20 games and he is a good man and a person that is good for young men," Bond said. "It is really sad."