Ray Coleman, who won 47 games in two seasons as coach of the East St. Louis boys basketball team, will not return for the 2012-13 season.
Sources said Coleman received a letter in the mail Friday signed by school principal Jethro Brown and athletics director Leonard Manley that said the athletics department "will not recommend you to be the head boys basketball coach for the 2012-13 winter season."
The letter commended Coleman and his staff on the recently completed successful season. But it also stated, “We have plans to move in a different direction with the program, where it was evident this season was somewhat of a challenge for you and the players.”
Reached Monday night, Manley said, "All I can tell you is he was not fired. I don't know if he will be rehired for next year. All contracts for all coaches are coming up at the end of the season. Everybody's got to be rehired.”
That challenge Coleman's supervisors were not happy with, sources said, was Coleman's disciplinary handling of junior Deshawn Munson. A 6-foot-3 guard considered to be one of the top players in the St. Louis area, Munson averaged 19.7 points per game in 25 contests.
Reached by phone Monday, Coleman declined comment.
Coleman, 51, was 47-16, including 24-8 this past season. His team lost 79-75 in the Class 3A super-sectional to Springfield Lanphier on March 13. Lanphier wound up fourth in the state.
In the 2010-11 season, East St. Louis ended 23-8 after losing to Normal Community 81-64 in the Class 4A sectional championship. Normal ended fourth overall.
Coleman and Munson butted heads off and on for two years. Last year, Coleman booted Munson off the team only to reinstate him later.
This season, Munson was suspended for five games at the beginning of the season for disciplinary reasons and benched by Coleman two other times.
Coleman missed a game on Jan. 31 at Alton for what was reported by the school as an illness. At the time, Coleman insisted he was sick, although rumors persisted that Coleman had been suspended. Sources confirmed recently that Coleman was indeed suspended by the East St. Louis administration because of his handling of Munson.
Coleman had replaced Dennis Brooks to start the 2010-11 season after Brooks resigned after the 2009-10 season.
Sources also have said Coleman had at least five meetings with East St. Louis administrators this season and had been told in one meeting to play Munson "or else.” He was also told he would have to win a state title this season if he wanted to keep his job.
That didn't happen.