Morgan hires McBryde as AD Former track star recently worked at Virginia State

April 16, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

As a youngster, Kenneth McBryde experienced some of the rich athletic tradition of Morgan State, attending some of the Morgan State-Grambling football classics at Yankee Stadium. As adult, he is puzzled by the program's decline.

"A lot of people know that Morgan has had a great tradition, but wonder why it has fallen on hard times for such a long period of time," McBryde said.

Now McBryde, 40, can witness those hard times firsthand, and work on a solution. Yesterday the former All-American triple-jumper began his firstday as Morgan State's new athletic director.

Morgan State did not announce McBryde's appointment, and adminstration officials were not available yesterday to comment on his hiring.

McBryde replaces assistant athletic director Joe McIver, who became the acting AD after Leonard Braxton left Morgan in November to become track coach at Arizona State. McBryde is taking over a program in turmoil; its latest crisis is the sexual harassment lawsuit filed this week against the school and head football coach Ricky Diggs by Elizabeth Stearns, the former academic coordinator for athletics.

"I've heard about some of the problems going on, and no one -- especially an outsider like me -- could predict that anything like this could happen," McBryde said. "But it's not something that has deterred me from what we have to do in better organizing and managing the department and resources so maybe we don't have these types of situations in the future."

McBryde is a graduate of Manhattan College, where he earned (( his bachelor's in physical education in 1975 and his masters in educational administration in 1987. At Manhattan, McBryde was a six-time All-American and was twice ranked in the nation's top 20 as a triple jumper. He was a finalist in the 1972 and 1976 Olympic trials.

While serving as an assistant track and field coach at Rutgers University from 1979 to '84, McBryde also was the school's director of physical education, intramurals and recreation. He got his first athletic director's job at Ramapo College, a Division III school in Mahwah, N.J.

McBryde left Ramapo in February 1992 to become athletic director at Virginia State University. But McBryde was relieved of his duties by the school president in July 1992, a move that resulted in McBryde winning an out-of-court settlement with the school.

"It was a situation where I got a raw deal, but I can't really discuss it because of the settlement," McBryde said. "Shortly after my contract wasn't renewed -- in addition to the contracts of others -- the president was relieved of his duties. I did nothing wrong, I just got caught up in a bad situation where there were some internal problems with the [school]."

Officials at Virginia State could not be reached for comment.

Since then McBryde has spent a lot of his time doing volunteer work, and became interested when the Morgan State job became available. McBryde was undaunted by the recent problems in the athletic department, described this week by one administrator as "the toughest year in over 20 years" at Morgan.

"I just wanted to make certain that people wanted me here and that I had the full support to get the job done," McBryde said. "I think [university president Earl Richardson and vice president PTC Raymond Downs] have given me their words that they're going to work with us.

"This is a situation that's going to take a couple of years [before] you will really see an impact," McBryde said. "I won't say there will be wholesale changes. But I would not want to be locked into anything if we're going to make improvements.

"There has been a lot of turmoil, but there's an old scripture that says 'the darkest hour is just before daybreak,' " McBryde said. "We hope we're nearing the darkest hours, knowing that daylight is somewhere along the way."

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