Dunbar alumni, parents pushed for investigation Support for Pompey appears limited

August 18, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Complaints from alumni, parents and politicians about the Dunbar High School athletic program led to an investigation that resulted in coach Pete Pompey's being placed on administrative leave, the Baltimore schools superintendent said yesterday.

According to Walter G. Amprey, the complaints intensified after a Dunbar athletic aide was charged in June with sexually assaulting a teen-age boy.

Amprey would not name those who complained about the Dunbar program.

Pompey, who came to Dunbar in 1986 as athletic director as well as football and basketball coach, was placed on administrative leave with pay three weeks ago during an investigation into the alleged misuse of athletic department funds. The money is believed to be related to the school's operation of a concession stand at Oriole Park.

Repeated attempts to reach Pompey have been unsuccessful.

Aside from about a dozen Pompey supporters who rallied outside the city schools administration building Monday evening, there has been little public reaction from the close-knit Dunbar community to the investigation of Pompey, who led the Poets to the mythical national basketball championship a little more than a year ago.

It's a far cry from 1989, when Dunbar supporters closed ranks around former basketball coach Bob Wade when he faced problems at the University of Maryland. Calls yesterday and last week to the Poets Athletic Club, a nonprofit organization on East North Avenue that includes former Dunbar athletes, have gone unanswered.

"I thought the people would get together and say, 'Leave Pete alone,' " said Amprey, who added he was surprised when Dunbar alumni were among those requesting an investigation into the school.

Asked how much money is involved, Amprey said only "it was quite a large sum of money." The funds were part of the Dunbar High School Athletic Club account, which comes from activities in the Dunbar athletic program.

Amprey said he had heard complaints about the Dunbar program "for some time." But they intensified, he said, after Edward "Zeke" Mazyck was arrested on June 14 and charged with twice sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy -- with one of those attacks taking place on Dunbar property. An aide to the Dunbar athletic program, Mazyck had a prior sexual assault charge against him, but a city schools spokesman said in June that no one at the school level requested a background check when he was hired in March 1992.

"When that story broke, a number of people -- including some City Council people -- said that there were more improprieties," Amprey said. "We got letters from the Poets Athletic Club members and calls from some alumni and some parents. They pressured the system to take a deeper look."

That led to an investigation in which auditors checked out the athletic club account.

"I met with Pete, and we talked about it," Amprey said. "We checked into the funds and found some accounts weren't coming into the school the proper way.

"We took a deeper look, and we found some things serious enough to turn the matter over to the state's attorney's office," Amprey added. "I don't want to hurt Pete, and I want to give him every chance to straighten this out. I just hope it's a matter of not keeping the proper receipts."

Stuart Simms, the city state's attorney, did not respond to calls to his office yesterday.

With Pompey on administrative leave, Dunbar last week hired Stanley Mitchell as interim football coach.

Instead of going to Dunbar when teachers begin the school year Aug. 26, Pompey will report to city schools headquarters on North Avenue, said Gary Thrift, the assistant superintendent for the southern area of the city, which includes Dunbar.

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