LEWISBURG, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice won’t be moonlighting as the coach of a boys high school basketball team where he already is the girls coach.
The Greenbrier County Board of Education on Monday rejected a motion to hire Justice as the boys coach at Greenbrier East High School. News outlets reported the board voted 3-2 to toss a recommendation from county schools Superintendent Jeff Bryant to hire Justice.
Justice said during one of his regularly scheduled news conferences on the coronavirus pandemic that the board’s vote “came down with just that ugliness of personal preference or political preference.”
“Frankly, the board of education in Greenbrier County made a decision that will ultimately hurt not me, but the kids,” the governor said.
The board is looking to replace former NBA player Bimbo Coles, who resigned in July.
Much of the debate involved whether Justice could give enough attention to both the boys and girls teams while also being governor, along with paying attention to his family’s businesses. Board member Rick Parker, who voted against Justice’s hiring, had said he planned to base his vote on those concerns.
Justice’s second term as governor runs through 2024.
Justice served as the boys coach from 2010 to 2017, his first year as governor. He has coached the girls team since 2000, winning a state championship in 2012.