A controversial principal at a Pittsburgh-area school who was hired as the head football coach in April has resigned his post.
Kevin Murray, the successor to George Novak, resigned as head coach of Woodland Hills football team before coaching a game.
Reached Wednesday morning, Murray told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: “It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this. I’m doing it because I don’t want to cause any circus for these kids. Woodland Hills gets enough negative publicity. This isn’t about me. This season is about the kids.”
Per the Tribune-Review, assistant football coaches and players received a letter from Murray announcing his decision.
Murray also remains on unpaid leave as the school’s principal as the Pennsylvania Department of Education delayed renewing his teaching certification amid several high-profile controversies involving treatment of students. Whether he will return as principal remains unclear, according to the Tribune-Review.
Pittsburgh attorney Todd Hollis, who represents a group of students accusing Murray of verbal and physical assault, posted Murray’s letter on Facebook. Murray’s attorney Phil DiLucente confirmed to the Tribune-Review that Murray wrote the letter.
Braddock Borough Council President Tina Doose called Murray’s resignation a victory for the district’s children in speaking with the Tribune-Review.
“It has never been personal with me. I don’t even know Mr. Murray,” she said. “His letter was laced with lies and innuendo and not once did he ever bother to apologize to the students that were hurt physically and emotionally. There are still a few more changes that need to be made but we are headed in the right direction.”
Murray’s hiring was controversial from the start.
In April, the Woodland Hills School Board had voted 5-4 to hire Kevin Murray, the principal who had drawn criticism for an incident in which he allegedly threatened a 14-year-old special education student and for leading a school at which a Churchill police officer knocked out a student’s tooth earlier this month.
After the board’s vote, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, more than a dozen residents urged the directors to reconsider their decision to hire Murray.
Murray had been the assistant head coach under Novak for the past five years.