By Phil Anastasia
Former Cherry Hill East coach John Valore has been named the new boys basketball coach at Camden.
Valore was appointed by the state Department of Education's monitor of the district, Michael Azzara, who overruled Tuesday's decision by the Camden Board of Education to reject interim superintendent Reuben Mills' recommendation that Valore be named the Camden coach.
In a letter to Mills, Board of Education president Kathryn Blackshear and interim School Business Administrator John Oberg dated Thursday, Azzara said he was "overriding the board's vote."
Azzara said Valore was "highly qualified" and had the "highest rating" of all the candidates from the selection committee.
Valore declined to comment pending official notification.
Valore will take over one of South Jersey's most famous athletic programs.
Valore was the coach at Cherry Hill East from 1977-2011 and also served as the head coach at Cumberland Regional last season.
Valore is believed to have the support of Camden athletic director Mark Phillips as well as Mills and some former Camden star stars such as 2000 graduate Arthur Barclay and 2001 graduate Dajuan Wagner, who is widely regarded as the best player in South Jersey history.
Barclay, who was a volunteer assistant under Byrd, has indicated a willingness to remain on the staff as an assistant under Valore.
Former Camden star Vic Carstarphen, a 1988 graduate who interviewed for the job but was not a viable candidate because he doesn't have a teaching certificate, also is believed to be a potential assistant coach under Valore.
Valore will replaced Cethswayo Byrd, who was Camden's coach for two seasons, going 39-24 and winning two South Jersey Group 3 titles.
Byrd took over a struggling team that had compiled an 8-18 record in 2010-11.
Byrd was suspended for the 2013-14 season by Camden administrators for allowing an independent filmmaker access to the team without board of education approval.
Valore, who won 549 games in 35 seasons from 1977-2011 at Cherry Hill East and spent last season as the head coach at Cumberland Regional, emerged as the leading candidate after interviewing with Mills and Phillips on May 17.
The court at Cherry Hill East is named "John Valore Court."
Current Cherry Hill East coach Dave Allen, a former player and assistant coach under Valore, said his old boss will be a great leader for the Camden program.
"John Valore and Cherry Hill East have been synonymous," Allen said. "Now, one of South Jersey's best programs just got our best. And he will give 'The High' what he gave us for 43 years -- the very best that he's got."
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