Warren County High School principal Anthony Cassel believed Thursday John Dillard was the man to lead the Warren County High School basketball team. His mind didn’t change despite finding out after the announcement of Dillard as coach Thursday that the new Pioneer leader was forced to resign a previous job at McNeese State University after committing NCAA infractions.
Cassel released a statement Friday night clarifying the situation and offering his support of the new Pioneer coach.
“After an offer to coach at WCHS was extended to John Dillard, Jeff Simmons informed Todd Willmore that coach Dillard was asked to resign at McNeese State in 2003. We were unaware of that resignation,” said Cassel. “With that being said, the situation was handled at McNeese State 10 years ago and coach Dillard has moved on in his coaching career.
“We are excited to have coach Dillard at WCHS and are looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and the passion for basketball that he brings to the court.”
Director of Schools Bobby Cox spoke about situation, saying, “Hiring of staff, including coaches, is based on the recommendation of the school principal. Coach Dillard went through all criminal background check procedures with nothing found.”
“In my conversations with Mr. Cassel and Mr. Willmore Friday when this was discovered, it was an incident that happened 10 years ago of which coach Dillard was disciplined by the college and has moved on and continued to coach.”
Cox believes Dillard will be able to do the job he was hired to do at WCHS.
“I shared my expectations for our basketball program on Thursday with him prior to his announcement and I fully expect he will meet our expectation,” said Cox.
Only hours after news came out Thursday Dillard had been hired as the new Warren County High School basketball coach, Internet reports were located about his tenure as an assistant coach at McNeese State University.
An article was found that centered around academic fraud which landed McNeese State on probation. Dillard was linked to the infractions.
A website report by KPLC, an NBC affiliate in Louisiana, titled “MSU hit with NCAA sanctions” and published in February 2007 detailed how the NCAA penalized McNeese State for violations that occurred in 2003.
The report reads, “The men’s basketball violations occurred in 2003 involving former assistant coach John Dillard, who was asked to resign in September of 2003 . . . According to the NCAA Infractions Committee, John Dillard committed academic fraud by arranging for a third party to take math tests for two junior-college transfers. Dillard also reportedly arranged impermissible proctoring and tutoring for the same two prospective student-athletes.”
In a press release given at the hiring conference Thursday held by the WCHS athletic department, Dillard was said to have “advanced to McNeese State University, leading the Cowboys to the 2002 Southland Conference championship and an appearance in the NCAA Big Dance.”
The WCHS release provided details about Dillard’s hiatus from basketball when he ran a junior college recruiting service from 2004-09 called the Southwest Hoops Report. Dillard returned to coaching basketball the last four years at Angelina College in Lufkin, Texas.