Longtime Edison HS basketball coach fired, sparking community backlash

Fairfax County Public Schools has fired longtime Edison High School basketball coach Dianne Lewis, leading to community backlash.

FCPS confirmed to FFXnow that Lewis was relieved from her duties as the varsity girls’ basketball coach at the Alexandria area high school.

“Edison HS is taking a new direction with our basketball coaching this coming school year,” an FCPS spokesperson said. “This decision was not made lightly, and was done so in the best interest of the school community. Edison HS leadership is committed to ensuring that the basketball program will remain strong and will continue to support our amazing student athletes in the coming school year.”

However, some in the community are making their disagreement with the decision clear. Late last week, a petition was set up asking FCPS to “overturn the firing” and reinstate Lewis. The petition claims the school gave no reason for Lewis’s firing.

“This heartbreaking blindsided firing of Coach Lewis came with no explanation to her, the players, parents or the community and we refuse to accept this reckless decision,” it reads.

As of this morning (Wednesday), the petition has gotten 2,243 signatures.

“Upon advice of counsel, I cannot comment at this time. I do appreciate your interest in this story,” Lewis told FFXnow.

The details of what exactly led to Lewis’s firing are scant.

She had been Edison’s varsity girls’ basketball coach for more than 20 years, guiding the team to hundreds of wins, a number of conference titles, regional championships, and several state championship appearances. This past season, the team went to states for the first time in several seasons.

A number of Lewis’s former players went on to play for major collegiate programs as well.

Lewis also worked with USA Basketball as an assistant coach, mostly helping to coach under-17 teams.

She had a positive impact on the lives of countless young players and students, according to many who left comments on the petition.

“Coach Lewis has done so much for Edison’s basketball program. She has changed lives and the community. She deserves her job back!!” reads one comment.

“I worked alongside Coach Lewis for 3 years and she was never anything less than a professional, upstanding role model and citizen,” reads another. “She held her student-athletes to the highest standard on and off the court. To hear she has been fired [is] unconscionable and a true loss to the Edison community.”

“I’m signing this petition because Coach Lewis means so much to so many people and has changed so many peoples lives including mine,” reads a comment from 2022 All-Met player Toni McCrae. “She was wrongfully fired for discrimination purposes and deserves to be fought for. I love her so much and I’m not gonna let them just take her job away from her!!”

FCPS didn’t comment specifically on the petition when contacted by FFXnow.

Irene Fakulujo protesting the dismissal of Coach Lewis outside of Edison High (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

This morning, Irene Fakulujo was outside of the school protesting Lewis’s dismissal and asking for her reinstatement. Her daughter plays on the basketball team and says Lewis was always encouraging to the players.

“She gave them a lot of confidence and they are better people because of her,” Fakulujo told FFXnow.

She said that parents and the players weren’t given a reason for why Lewis was let go beyond an email simply saying her contract wasn’t being renewed.

“They should have talked to the girls. I saw what Coach Lewis has done for them,” Fakulujo said. “We are really hoping [she gets reinstated]. We are really hoping so.”