Turnover continues at Northeast

August 13, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

The large turnover in athletic personnel at Northeast High School continued Wednesday with the hiring of Sam Tanner as the school's boys varsity soccer coach.

Tanner replaces Ronald Walter Price, who was arrested in April and charged with child sexual abuse.

Tanner, 39, is the president of the St. Jane's Soccer organization in Pasadena. His coaching experience includes stints with the Severna Park varsity and junior varsity programs, Archbishop Spalding and Anne Arundel Community College.

"I've got a pretty good reputation in this area for being involved with kids in soccer," he said. "I know a number of people called Northeast and gave them my name. The last couple of months, I kept running into people who would say, 'I hear you're going to be the new coach.' But I hadn't talked to anyone about it, and it never entered my mind."

Tanner said the hiring process was handled by principal Dr. Joseph Carducci and newly appointed assistant principal Craig Reynolds.

Former athletic director Roger Stitt is awaiting word on his transfer after being placed on administrative leave while school officials investigate allegations that he sexually harassed another teacher.

Tanner, who taught industrial arts at Arundel Junior High from 1975-1984, worked in construction before starting his own general contracting business five years ago.

Not only does he join an athletic program in turmoil, but with fall practices beginning this weekend, he had to scramble to arrange tryouts for perspective players.

"It's going to be interesting," he said. "Dr. Carducci has been very supportive, helping me get things started. The first practice Saturday, so it's a challenge, but it's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it."

Stitt isn't the only member of the Northeast athletic department awaiting transfer. Harry Lentz, who also was placed on administrative leave while school officials investigate the same charges against him, is being relieved of his duties as baseball coach after 26 seasons, 341 victories, four state championships, and a No. 1 ranking in the nation in 1991.

Stitt, 44, and Lentz, 49, are expected to receive their new assignments on Aug. 25.

The probe is based on allegations made by Marlene Ramey, a former Northeast social studies teacher, who this spring told school system authorities that the two men had sexually harassed her verbally and physically in the late 1980s.

"It's an accusation that was made, and [Lentz] hasn't been able to defend himself," said wrestling coach Al Kohlhafer. "He was just automatically moved out. I don't see any rhyme or reason for him to be disciplined that way. And I don't believe the charges that were made.

"The school board is always looking to do the right thing for the kids, and this is the wrong thing, moving a person out who is so instrumental in the kids' lives. He is an excellent [social studies] teacher, and to move an excellent teacher out is wrong. It's the same with Roger. These two men are excellent teachers, and they work extremely well with the kids.

"My phone's been ringing off the hook, from people who are sick xTC about this. It's ripping the school apart. It's just a mess, a complete mess."

Lentz could not be reached for comment.

New coaches at South River

South River athletic director Jim Haluck has filled two fall sports coaching vacancies just days before practices begin.

Millersville resident Mel Kohler has been named the girls varsity soccer coach, and Julie Bennett will take over the field hockey program.

Kohler, 27, has previous high school coaching experience with the St. Mary's and Roland Park girls junior varsity soccer teams.

"I think we have a promising future. I'm looking forward to it; it'll be a real challenge," said Kohler, who also coached the Severna Park Kickers and Brooklyn Park Stingers in the Washington Area Girls Soccer League.

Haluck, who hired Broadneck graduate Patrick Flynn as an assistant coach, said, "Mel has experience with this age level, and he struck us as someone who knows the sport and is very mature. And the situation we're in, we need someone who knows the sport. We have a very good team here and the girls have expectations for the playoffs, and more. He seems to be a guy who can get them there."

Bennett, 21, is a former All-County player at Meade.

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