The DeSoto High School head football coach whose job was mysteriously in jeopardy last spring despite winning the school’s first state championship plans to step down from the position.
DeSoto ISD announced Todd Peterman’s intent to step down in a press release early Thursday afternoon after Peterman met with district superintendent Dr. David Harris. Peterman will continue to serve in his role as football coach and assistant athletic director until the end of the 2017-18 school year, when his contract expires.
A reason for the decision to step down was not made clear.
“It is important to note that Peterman was not asked to step down or resign and that Peterman remains in good standing with DeSoto ISD,” the district said.
In April, despite leading the Eagles’ to an undefeated season and a 6A Division II state title, Peterman’s future was in question. A school board member told WFAA the board was looking into potential UIL violations, including possible recruiting violations, violation of the UIL’s eight-hour weekly limit on practice time and the use of chewing tobacco on the sideline.
Peterman admitted to the use of chewing tobacco but maintains it was a one-time occurrence, and he says that "behavior was corrected." However, he says he has "never recruited or been accused of recruiting," and also says he "never [has] broken the 8-hour rule."
Through an open records request, WFAA at the time obtained a single document handwritten by an anonymous person that alleged Peterman changed players’ grades and allowed potential recruits to stay at his house. The school board member wasn’t aware of any of those violations.
"I love the community," Peterman said at the time. "I love the people. I love the kids. I love the kids' parents. So I've been made to look bad for no reason, for two weeks. Because they have nothing to fire me on, so people had to speculate on what could possibly be wrong. And you know what, there's nothing wrong. We run a clean program. So that, yeah, that's a little disheartening."
He urged the board to "tell the truth" about what was happening.
Some attributed the questions about Peterman’s future to race. DeSoto’s student body is 78 percent black and four-of-seven board members are black. Peterman is white.
However, Peterman received multiracial support at a board meeting that addressed his future in late April.
DeSoto’s football team went 10-2 in 2017, including a 6-1 record in district play, and lost to Southlake Carroll in the area round of the playoffs in November.