Coach at basketball academy responds to players’ claims that teen brought in prostitute, program lacked food and supervision

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BELMAR, N.J. (PIX11) -- PIX11 News first learned of Coastal Academy back in February during our series of reports on Prep Schools and Post Graduate programs.  We were able to capture Coastal Academy in action against Jersey City powerhouse St. Anthony High School.

Legendary Coach Bobby Hurley Sr. even praised the post graduate program after the game. "They have a certain mission they are involved in and we really appreciate the game every year."

However, just a few weeks after our report aired, Coastal Academy's season imploded and the remainder of their games canceled.

When asked if this season got away from him? Ian Turnbull simply says, "Yes."

Turnbull is the  Senior Executive Director and Head Coach of Coastal Academy.  He met with PIX11 News on Tuesday after a critical report emerged last week about the lack of adult supervision, a food shortage and even a prostitute within  the walls of his program.

Turnbull chalks it up disrespectful players as well as bad personnel moves. "I made bad hiring decisions. They were not for this program." Turnbull also acknowledges that he runs the show. "I am responsible for Coastal in its entirety."

PIX11 News has spoken with several players from this past season at Coastal Academy.  All have said that Turnbull did not deliver what was promised.  One even saying that "it was like fend for yourself" after the season was canceled.  A season that included a prostitute visiting one of the homes that houses academy players.

"That is beyond me, there was a coach in the house when this was done," when asked about the prostitute claim.

When asked specifically how does something like this occur under his watch, Turnbull said, "That is a tough question.  I think that the only way that, that possibly could have been stopped, is if I was there and was basically sitting in the living room the entire time.  I don't want to go to something simple as kids will be kids and kids will do stupid things, but we did provide supervision, there was supervision in the house and the kids still did it."

The players say that once the season imploded some left town immediately, while others remained to take the SAT exam on March 14th.  When asked if anyone helped him prepare for the pivotal test, a former player told me "Not really. I just studied myself."

While in Turnbull's office Tuesday afternoon, he felt compelled to show receipts for food that was purchased.  It was reported that there wasn't enough food and many players confirmed this to PIX11 However, Turnbull had a different stance. "I am saying that we provide enough to provide breakfast lunch and dinner. That is what we are saying."

Turnbull even presented an email from Shoprite stating that he spent over $10,000 in food.  In fact, he says he spent approximately $12,000.

So PIX11 News decided to crunch the numbers with Turnbull. When broken down, $12,000 over 180 days for 20 students comes to an average of $3 a day per player.

"I will agree with your number the way you broke it down, but I will also say there is another way to look at it and what we are trying to do and what we are trying to achieve," Turnball said.

The coach also stated that his program gets more bang for its buck by purchasing food in bulk, adding that teenagers can be picky eaters.

Turnbull confirmed what PIX11 News reported in February that there is not much oversight for post-grad programs, academies and prep schools in New Jersey, unless they are part of the state's Association of Independent Schools.