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Dunbar football coach ousted: ‘I’m disappointed and it hurts’

Darran Powell will not return as Dunbar High School’s head football coach next year, a decision that comes a year after he was let go and then re-hired after a public outcry.

Powell, who was first hired in 2012, said he learned this morning that his supplementary coaching contract will not be renewed for the upcoming school year.

He said he was told the new school administration wanted to “move in a different direction.”

RELATED: Long saga ends with Powell retaining position as Dunbar football coach

Powell said, “I’m disappointed and it hurts because of all the work we put in for the kids.”

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Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said a committee interviewed several qualified candidates for the head coach positions across the district.

She said supplemental coaching contracts last for one year, allowing for program changes, and there have been several changes made based on the needs of the buildings and athletic programs.

“Dayton Public Schools will focus on academic achievement in each building, and all DPS student scholars will be taught by highly qualified teachers,” Lolli said in a statement. “Many of these teachers are new coaches in the buildings, so an academic focus can be emphasized which will create a strong learning foundation as well as a strong athletic program.”

RELATED: Dunbar basketball fiasco: Dayton superintendent says, ‘We owe an apology’

She said the district appreciates its previous coaches’ time, effort and dedication to student atheletes.

Powell also works for the school full-time as a paraprofessional in special education. He says he has not found out if that contract will be renewed, and he says he doesn’t know if he would return in that role.

Powell, 30, a 2006 graduate of Dunbar, said he doesn’t know why he hasn’t been retained as coach, but it seems to be linked to the new administration.

“I don’t want to be anywhere I am not wanted,” he said.

Under Powell, Dunbar was 31-21 in five seasons, including the team’s only trip to the playoffs last season. The team never had a losing record with Powell.

RELATED: Dayton principal, AD reprimanded for ‘major violation’ in Dunbar fight

In the last two years, Dunbar was embroiled in controversy over the use of an ineligible player that caused the school to forfeit two games and miss the playoffs in 2016. Accusations also were made that then-Dayton Public Schools Athletics Director Mark Baker instructed Dunbar to lose to Belmont in Week 10.

Losing could have meant both teams would qualify for the postseason.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association put the DPS boys and girls athletics programs on three years of probation and the district was hit with a $10,000 fine.

Powell was out as coach in June of 2017, but he was re-hired in the following month after many community members urged school administration to reconsider.

RELATED: DPS hires new Dunbar football coach; He says no district official told him

Dunbar last season made it to the second round of the playoffs. Powell said seven players earned football scholarships to college.

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