If Morgan calls, Wade is interested Former Bears star ponders AD's job

February 10, 1993|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Writer

Bob Wade, a reminder of the glory days at Morgan State, wouldn't mind returning there to help the Bears overcome the problems that have afflicted them since the 1970s.

Since Leonard Braxton announced last October that he would be leaving as Morgan State athletic director, rumors have floated that Wade would come back to the university where he played football in the mid-1960s. Wade said that he hasn't applied for the athletic director's job, but he would be willing to talk with Morgan State officials if they are interested.

"I haven't been approached, nor have I solicited the job," Wade said. "But if Morgan felt I could help, I gladly would sit down and talk with them. If Morgan feels I can help them reach the mission of their vision, I'm here."

Raymond Downs, the Morgan State vice president for student life, was unavailable to comment yesterday. In the past, he has declined to comment on specific candidates for the athletic director's job.

Wade said that he is happy in his job as Baltimore's superintendent of recreation, overseeing a department that has 300 employees.

Wade has been out of college athletics since 1989, when he was forced to resign as the coach at Maryland following violations of NCAA rules in his basketball program. Through March 1995, any college that wants to hire Wade in an athletics-related position must fulfill a show-cause requirement, and have his duties approved and possibly restricted by the NCAA infractions committee.

Braxton, now the track and field coach at Arizona State, served as the athletic director and track coach at Morgan State. The administration has split the position, and Morgan State is expected to announce soon the hiring of UMES' Neville Hodge for the track and field position.

Several of the school's self-imposed deadlines to hire an athletic director have passed, and speculation is growing that Joe McIver, the interim athletic director who has applied for the job, will remain in that capacity through the rest of the 1992-93 year. Braxton was the athletic director on an interim basis for several years following the retirement of Earl Banks in 1986.

Besides McIver, another applicant for the athletic director's job is A. B. Williamson, the former basketball coach at Howard University.

After he was forced out at Maryland in 1989, Wade was rumored to be in the running for a fund-raising position with Morgan State. In 1990, he was one of five finalists for the Bears' basketball coaching job that went to Michael Holmes. Before he coached at Maryland, Wade led Dunbar High basketball to national prominence.

When Braxton left last fall, Wade's name was linked with the university again.

"I've heard some rumors throughout the city," said Wade, a defensive back on several unbeaten Morgan State teams in the 1960s. "I don't know where they start, but I've been hearing them throughout the city. I haven't heard anything from the administration, though."

Other than to say, "It was a learning experience; it strengthened me," Wade wouldn't talk about his three seasons at Maryland. The NCAA violations led to Maryland's being barred from the NCAA tournament for two seasons and live TV for one.

The NCAA's show-cause requirement could be an obstacle to Wade's returning to college athletics.

"If an NCAA member institution wishes to employ him [Wade] in an athletics-related capacity, they would have to go before the infractions committee," said David Berst, the NCAA's assistant executive director for enforcement.

"They would have to advise the committee of the nature of the position, and if the committee thinks it's appropriate, they would determine if those duties were limited."

UMES went through the process in 1990, when it hired Bob Hopkins as basketball coach. Recruiting violations under Hopkins had put Grambling on probation, and the NCAA infractions committee banned him from off-campus recruiting for a year and said he couldn't coach in postseason tournaments in his first season at UMES.

Downs has said that the search committee for a Morgan State athletic director would try to find candidates who can improve fund-raising, and Wade knows that's a major requirement.

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