PHOENIX — Desert Vista High School's head basketball coach has resigned after a whirlwind of a season last year.
This would've been Gino Crump's fifth year coaching varsity basketball at the school. Last year, he led the Thunder to a state championship and was named Coach of the Year after being briefly suspended for pushing one of his players after a game.
He has accepted a job at Bella Vista Prep in Scottsdale as director of basketball and coach of the national high school team.
"It's one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made in my life. It's very hard walking away from an institution I really loved. I loved being there, great community, I was embraced by Ahwatukee," he said.
The school recommended firing Crump after an incident following an overtime win against St. Mary's. Crump grabbed one of his players and shoved him away toward the locker room. That player's parents filed a restraining order against the coach. It was later dismissed by a Phoenix judge.
"The only thing I was trying to do was stop a potential fight. That's it," said Crump. "I never in my life imagined that I would've been fired for trying to do that."
Coach Crump had an outpouring of support from parents and players. He was re-instated, but Crump said school administrators never had his back.
"It was tough when you don't feel comfortable coming to work. I just want to give my kids the best, and I wasn't able to do that," he said. "I'm disappointed. I think a lot of things could've been done differently. The school and administration overreacted. And it has its consequences, and this is one of them."
Crump said another factor was the delay to the season due to COVID. He said the team has lost a few players, and it's been tough dealing with disruptions.
"If we had started, I never would have accepted an offer," he said.
Crump said he'll help with the transition with a new head coach.
"They're going to be fine. I'm happy for them. And I hope the new coach has as much success and enjoyment as I got out of this," he said.
ABC15 reached out to the Tempe Union High School District to see if school leaders had a response to Crump's resignation. We were directed to a tweet sent out by Desert Vista's Athletic Director Tommy Eubanks:
"I would like to congratulate Coach Gino Crump on his acceptance of the Head Coaching Basketball job at Bella Vista Prep. Wish you nothing but success in the future and thanks for all you have done at Desert Vista during your time here."