OregonLive reports Portland Public Schools has fired Cleveland High School football coach Ken Duilio, he says because of his position as a sergeant for the Portland Police Bureau.
Duilio, who took over Cleveland’s football program in 2019, said he was told Monday that his coaching contract would not be renewed.
Asked if the reason for his dismissal had to do with his job with Portland police, Duilio told The Oregonian/OregonLive: “100 percent.”
Portland Public Schools athletic director Marshall Haskins said coaches’ contracts are renewed each year on Aug. 1. The district, Haskins said, “chose to go in a different direction” at Cleveland. He would not say why but denied the decision had to do with Duilio’s other job with Portland police.
Duilio said there was a group — he did not know who — that put pressure on the school district to fire him as football coach. Duilio believes a campaign to remove him at Cleveland began after he spoke during a news conference at North Precinct on June 26. Fliers with Duilio’s picture attaching him to past incidents as a police officer were stapled to telephone poles throughout Portland in recent weeks.
Duilio said some facts in the flier are “distorted,” and that “there is more to it.”
The flier mentioned two incidents involving Duilio from 2001.
Duilio was one of three off-duty officers assaulted by at least five gang associates outside a downtown Portland restaurant, according to a 2001 story from The Oregonian. The assaults were thought to be retaliation, with previous contact between the assailants and the officers, who at the time were working in North Portland. Two officers were hospitalized from the attack, but Duilio was unharmed.
A separate incident, also nearly 20 years ago, involved Duilio’s shooting of Bruce Browne. The July 2001 shooting, which was a case of mistaken identity, resulted in a $200,000 settlement, The Oregonian reported. Duilio responded to a call about a man with a gun at a convenience store gas station on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Browne had wrestled a 9mm handgun from the man in question. Duilio mistook Browne for the man who had had the gun and shot and wounded him. A Multnomah County grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing, but Police Chief Mark Kroeker called the shooting “regretful” and visited Browne in the hospital.
About a week ago, Duilio said he was asked to come into the district office to talk about incidents listed on the flier. Duilio said he was told that the district “didn’t see a path moving forward because of pressure they’re getting” and was asked to resign.
Duilio said he respectfully declined. Later in the week, he was again asked to resign, he said, and again Duilio said he didn’t think that was the right thing to do. Duilio declined to say who called him into the district office or who asked him to resign.
One day later, Duilio was dismissed. Haskins said he was the one who delivered the news.
“It’s unjust, from whoever is leading this,” Duilio said. “PPS still had a role in it. They could have stood up to them.”