Northeast's Lentz, Stitt reassigned to Board of Ed

August 26, 1993|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Staff Writer

Northeast High's baseball coach and athletic director have been reassigned to positions at the Board of Education building in Annapolis following allegations that the two men sexually harassed a teacher in the late 1980s.

Harry Lentz, who won 341 games during 26 seasons as head coach, was informed yesterday morning that he would become an assistant to Bob Jervis, the coordinating supervisor of social studies.

Roger Stitt, the school's athletic director for two years, will be an assistant to Rick Wiles, the coordinator of physical education and athletics for Anne Arundel County.

Lentz and Stitt previously taught in the social studies department at Northeast.

Lentz, whose teams won three state championships and one district title, said he preferred to be assigned to the board, rather than at another school.

"I don't want to go to another school and have to re-establish my reputation as to who I am academically and athletically after 28 years [as a teacher]. I can't do that to myself," said Lentz, whose Eagles went 24-0 and were voted the nation's No. 1 team by Collegiate Baseball magazine two years ago.

"If they will not put me back at Northeast, then I'd rather be at the board. I'm ready to go back and see my colleagues, the guys I've coached with for 10, 15, 20 years. It's like a reunion when you walk back in there on the first day, and I knew I wouldn't be able to do that at another school, not after 28 years."

Marlene Ramey, who taught social studies at Northeast, told school system authorities this spring that Lentz and Stitt had sexually harassed her verbally and physically. She obtained a transfer to South River, then went to Southern. She now teaches at Annapolis.

A hearing for Lentz and Stitt is pending, and both men could return to Northeast, said John Barbour, who was named acting athletic director on Tuesday. Barbour is the boys basketball coach at Northeast.

Stitt had replaced Bob Grimm, who was relieved of his duties by principal Dr. Joseph Carducci Jr. in May 1991.

Carducci said on Tuesday that there was no rush to find a replacement for Lentz, if one was needed. "We're just concentrating on the fall programs now. We haven't even looked that far," he said.

Barbour expressed hope yesterday that both Lentz and Stitt eventually will be allowed to retain their former jobs.

"It would be good for the morale at the school -- the faculty, as well as the students -- and it would be a benefit for the school to have them both back," he said.

"What I'm doing now is temporary. It was something I needed to do to help the school, mainly for the students. It's difficult to coach and be an AD, especially when you're new at it. I'd much rather be coaching. It's unbelievable what's expected of athletic directors. There's just not enough time."

Lentz, 49, a native of Pennsylvania and a graduate of Kutztown (Pa.) University, has received plenty of support from parents, students and faculty since the allegations.

Two demonstrations have taken place at the school to protest the transfer, and two weeks ago, Northeast wrestling coach Al Kohlhafer said, "He was just automatically moved out. I don't see any rhyme or reason for him to be disciplined this way.

"It's ripping the school apart."

Donnie Gilbert, a shortstop at Northeast from 1983 to 1987, said, "If Coach Lentz doesn't return, there's going to be a big period bTC of adjustment. It's a real sad thing when you take out a guy like him when they've been such a power for the last 20 or 30 years. There will be a big fall-out. What's happened to Coach Lentz is a travesty."

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