CANTON — Adrian Allison, who was ousted in January as Canton City Schools’ superintendent after a controversial tenure that included a verbal confrontation involving him and a gay student, has joined the executive team at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Allison serves as general counsel and senior vice president of human resources.

“From my childhood days growing up in Canton, I always knew that the Pro Football Hall of Fame stood for excellence,” Allison wrote in a statement. “Never did I dream that I would one day have the opportunity to work there. I thank David Baker and the Hall of Fame Board of Directors for giving me this amazing opportunity. I truly believe in the mission, vision and values of the Hall, and in this new role, I am excited to promote them here in my hometown and throughout the nation.”

Allison served as superintendent of the Canton school district from 2013 through January of this year, when he entered a transitional agreement with the Board of Education that ended his employment. He had recently applied to become chief legal counsel for Columbus City Schools.

Allison’s departure from the Canton school district followed an investigation into the altercation with the gay student after a Canton McKinley playoff football game Nov. 9, and an ongoing improvement plan he was working under during a one-year contract with the district. The transitional agreement emphasized Allison had not been threatened with discipline nor termination and had committed no wrongdoing.

After Allison announced he would be leaving the school district, Hall President and CEO David Baker spoke to The Canton Repository about his relationship with Allison, describing him as a man of integrity who made difficult decisions for the school district that other people had punted on.

Baker said Allison’s dedication to students was evident during negotiations between the team representing Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village and the school district.

“There were many times when we ended up doing more for the school district than I thought was reasonable in some respects,” Baker told the Repository earlier this year. “But it was his focus on the kids. He didn’t make a penny out of this. He wanted his football team to be better. His teachers to be better. He wanted the community to be better.”

The land on which Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and the new youth fields sit is owned by the school district and is leased to developers of the Village through the Stark County Port Authority, which meant district officials were involved in negotiations related to stadium usage, rent and tax abatements.

Much of early 2018 was spent hammering out terms of an agreement attached to a real estate document Village developers needed to secure a bridge loan. Allison, along with Board of Education members, agreed to sign off on the document in exchange for $4 million for a new football operations facility and a plan to preserve the district’s heritage within the new stadium.

In addition to working for the school district and the Ohio Department of Education, Allison has a background in law. He earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1998 and served as both assistant attorney general for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and assistant legal counsel for the Ohio Department of Public Safety before moving into the education sector.

He has maintained his active status as an attorney with the Supreme Court of Ohio.

In a statement from Baker sent to the Repository this week, he said: “We are excited that we can keep a leader of Adrian’s caliber in Canton and that he can join our Hall of Fame management team. His talents and professionalism combined with his representation of the Hall of Fame’s values of commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence made him an ideal fit to help us advance the Hall’s vision.”

Allison’s position is new for the Hall, according to its staff listing.

 

alison.matas@cantonrep.com.

@amatasREP