Morgan looks to rebuild, fires Holmes

April 12, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

The troubled basketball program at Morgan State went through another disturbance yesterday when the school fired coach Michael Holmes.

Holmes, the eighth coach at Morgan State since 1971, had a 31-81 record in his four seasons there.

"We think that, at this point, we want to go in another direction with the program. We think it's time to make a change," said athletic director Kenneth McBryde, who recently completed his first year at Morgan State.

"We're attempting to rebuild. The win-loss record was not what it should be in Division I."

Holmes denied that he had been fired, saying that he chose to resign. Holmes also had parting shots for McBryde and the athletic program.

"I haven't produced, have I? I haven't done what I was supposed to do as a coach?" Holmes said. "I've got to take it in stride and move on. I did the best I could under the circumstances.

"We've never had any resources. He [McBryde] has come in and made it even more difficult to operate. I haven't seen eye-to-eye with him since he got here. I don't have too much respect for him. We've got real problems at Morgan. I've done enough. I can't take it no more."

McBryde said he was surprised by Holmes' remarks and his statement that he had resigned.

"Maybe he [Holmes] is saying that to save face, but I don't have a letter of resignation on my desk. His contract is not being renewed, simple as that," McBryde said. "I'm not going to knock Mike Holmes publicly. I'm just making a coaching change."

The change comes one month after Holmes had engineered perhaps his greatest coaching feat at Morgan State. In the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, the Bears upset Coppin State, 61-60, marking the Eagles' first loss to an MEAC opponent in two years and the first time that a No. 8 seed had beaten a top seed in the 23-year history of the MEAC tournament.

One night later, the Bears lost to South Carolina State in the tournament semifinals to finish 8-21.

Morgan State has had one winning season since 1979. The Bears' best season under Holmes was 1992-93, when they regrouped from an 0-9 start to finish 9-17, including a 9-7 record and a three-way tie for second place in the MEAC.

"There's been speculation [about Holmes getting fired], but you hear that every year around here," senior guard Terry Sellers said. "I learned a lot from him. He knows a lot about basketball. I guess I'm not surprised, since there was so much talk about it. But if you keep changing coaches every three or four or five years, it's hard to get something established."

Freshman center Chris McCarthy reacted to the news with disbelief. He said he would leave.

"I don't blame Coach Holmes for the lack of success Morgan has PTC had. I blame the school and the athletic department," McCarthy said. "They don't take care of us. It took 10 games before they got us [new] uniforms. They didn't buy us sneakers all year. And no one asked our opinions [about Holmes]. Athletically, Morgan State will be nothing until they make a commitment.

"With the firing of Holmes, Morgan State is guaranteed to lose McCarthy and [Gerald] Jordan," McCarthy said. "We will transfer, no doubt about it."

Jordan, a 6-foot-10 sophomore forward who made the All-MEAC team, could not be reached for comment.

McBryde said the school will begin forming a committee immediately to seek a new coach.

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