Midshipman failing, was asked to leave ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY

January 26, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

A varsity football player who hanged himself in a shower stall at the U.S. Naval Academy last week was failing his courses and had been asked to leave, academy officials confirmed yesterday.

Midshipman 3rd Class Gil Wendel Greene, a sophomore economics major, was being dismissed because of poor grades, said Cmdr. Mike John, an academy spokesman.

The 20-year-old was found dead Thursday by an academy staff member in a private bathroom on the second floor of Ricketts Hall, an athletic and visitors center. The state medical examiner ruled his death a suicide. No note was found.

Two weeks earlier, Mr. Greene had appeared before the academy's academic board because he was having trouble with his courses, Commander John said. The seven-member board, chaired by Superintendent Thomas C. Lynch, reviews the grades and final exams of students having academic difficulty.

Midshipmen who have a grade-point average of 2.0 or lower are automatically placed on probation. Those who have failed to bring up their grades, have failed a course twice in a row, or have failed several required courses are asked to leave. But they may appeal for a second chance.

Mr. Greene did not appeal the recommendation for dismissal, Commander John said. He declined to disclose the midshipman's grade-point average.

Dozens of students appeared before the academic board when they returned to the academy Jan. 6, academy officials said. Classes resumed Jan. 13.

Mr. Greene had packed his bags and was ready to leave Annapolis to attend a college closer to his parents' home in Santa Ana, Calif., said Tom Bates, the academy's sports information director.

Mr. Greene was awaiting a formal release from the academy. Such a release is required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association for any recruited athlete.

A star tailback at Orange Lutheran High School in Orange County, Calif., where he was an all-league player for two years, Mr. Greene played sparingly as a defensive back for Navy.

His mother, Josie, said her son had decided before Christmas to leave the academy because he was unhappy about his lack of playing time.

But he was also preoccupied by his poor academic performance.

During his Christmas break, Mr. Greene told his high school coach, Bob Dowding, that he was concerned about his grades and was going to make his studies his top priority.

Even still, he didn't disclose the extent of his academic problems to his coach.

Mr. Dowding said the midshipman said he had a 2.5 or 2.8 grade point average.

"I don't understand it," Mr. Dowding said.

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