HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (HenricoMonthly.com) — Having coached NCAA Division I college basketball for more than 20 years, Patrick Russo is no stranger to having his judgment questioned.
“I’d like to have people like me. I’d love to have that, but … my job is to call the game correctly,” Russo went on, speaking of his part-time gig coaching for the Colonial Athletic Association until 2004. “My job is to leave there with the coaches feeling it was a fairly called game with no favoritism and that the kids got the best effort they can.”
But everybody hates the ref. At least until he makes a call they like.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, in that case, that even one of Russo’s biggest boosters, Henrico County School Board Chair Beverly L. Cocke, said about Russo in July: “Either they love him or they hate him. … He’s not going to play in the middle. He’s going to tell you how he really feels when things need to be done, whether you like it or not. … I’ve learned from being on the board sometimes what’s in the best interest of our children is not the popular decision. He doesn’t shy away from tough decisions.”
Amid deliberating whether to extend Russo’s contract, the county school board placed Russo on paid leave in early August, pending an investigation into concerns brought to the board about Russo.
A few weeks later the board decided against extending Russo’s contract past June 2015.