By Phil Anastasia
Cetshwayo Byrd, who led Camden High School to two South Jersey Group 3 basketball titles in his two seasons, has been removed from his position as the Panthers' coach, The Inquirer has learned.
Byrd confirmed Saturday that he has been suspended for the 2013-14 season by Camden administrators.
Byrd said he had no intention of re-applying for the job after next season.
He declined additional comment.
Camden athletic director Mark Phillips was not available for comment.
Two sources close to the situation said Byrd received a letter from the Camden school administration in early February indicating that he would be suspended for the 2013-14 season because he had allowed an independent filmmaker, Tony Paris, to produce a documentary on the 2011-12 season without approval from the Camden Board of Education.
Paris' documentary, which focused on the program's history of success and included interviews with Camden High School administrators as well as behind-the-scenes footage in the locker room, was shown a few times on Comcast SportsNet this past winter.
Paris was not available for comment.
Byrd's removal continues a recent history of upheaval of the Camden basketball program, once among the most stable and successful in South Jersey (SEE CHART BELOW).
Byrd continued to coach the team after receiving the letter, which is believed to have come from an assistant superintendent.
Camden went 11-5 after Feb. 1, beating powerful teams such as St. Augustine Prep, Camden Catholic and Eastern, and capturing the program's 43rd sectional title with a 67-54 victory over Timber Creek in the South Jersey Group 3 title game March 5.
Camden beat Central Jersey champion Lawrence by a 56-52 score in the state semifinals on March 8.
Camden lost to Newark East Side in the Group 3 state championship game by a 60-54 score on March 10.
The two sources indicated that efforts to convince the administration to rescind Byrd's suspension were unsuccessful. Byrd was notified on Friday that he would not be eligible to coach next season and that the position would be posted.
Byrd, a Camden graduate who teaches in the Pennsauken school district, was 39-24 in two seasons. He took over a struggling team that had compiled an 8-18 record in 2010-11.
Once known for its stability on the sideline as well as its success on the scoreboard, Camden at the start of next season will have its fifth head coach since 2008.
Legendary former coach Clarence Turner's career ended midway in the 2007-2008 season. He was replaced by Mike Stargell, who was replaced on an interim basis by former athletic director Al Dyer early in the 2010-11 season.
Byrd took over for the 2011-12 season. His teams went 18-13 and 21-11, including a combined 9-2 mark in Group 3 state playoff games.
CAMDEN COACHES SINCE 1945
1945-1970 -- Tony Alfano
1970-1998 -- Clarence Turner
1998-2002 -- Glenn Jackson
2002-2008 -- Clarence Turner
2008-2011 -- Mike Stargell
2011 -- Al Dyer
2011-13 -- Cetshwayo Byrd
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