Dunbar expects to name football coach today

August 16, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Dunbar held football practice without a head coach yesterday, but principal Charlotte Brown said she expected to name one today. She has interviewed two candidates for the job.

As area teams opened practice, Dunbar was led by interim coach Stanley Mitchell, who replaced former coach Pete Pompey nearly 14 months ago when Pompey was placed on paid leave pending an investigation into alleged misuse of athletic funds.

In separate meetings, Mitchell and former Pompey assistant Gerard "Rodney" White met with Brown, Dunbar alumni president Edwin Johnson and Ray Short, president of the Poet Followers booster program.

"She [Brown] asked if we could go without a practice for a couple of days, but I told her that in football, every day is key," said Mitchell, last year's Baltimore Sun All-Metro Coach of the Year.

Pompey, also the school's former athletic director and coach of its nationally ranked basketball program, is requesting a return to the school after the announcement on Aug. 5 by city State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms that his office had insufficient evidence to continue pursuing criminal charges.

Gail Robinson is interim athletic director for the second straight year.

Simms' findings are being reviewed by school board lawyer Avery Aisenstark. Board spokeswoman Donna Franks said Aisenstark is on vacation this week.

Pompey and his attorney, William H. Murphy Jr., expect to meet with city schools Superintendent Walter G. Amprey, who cited "inappropriate behaviors" by Pompey among the reasons he had decided to transfer him before Simms began investigating criminal charges against Pompey.

A small group of Pompey supporters delivered a letter to Amprey's office on behalf of the players, requesting a meeting with him. Amprey said yesterday he will reject that request because the Pompey issue is an internal matter.

"I'm operating as interim coach until everything is resolved. I'm trying to stay positive," said Mitchell. "This has really left the kids hanging. I can't plan the way I want to."

A third applicant, Jerome Hendricks -- unavailable due to a death in the family, Pompey said -- was one of two former Pompey assistants who applied last year but were not interviewed by Brown.

Amprey said Brown's decision violated city school board hiring practices that prohibit taking interim coaches who are not teachers without considering qualified members of the school system.

Hendricks and Vernon Horton, a veteran of 19 coaching seasons, won grievances with the Baltimore Teachers Union and were paid their regular salaries, Amprey said.

"She was trying to get a whole new staff there and decided not to rehire them. She did not have the right to do that," said Amprey.

Horton, who did not reapply because "I didn't like the way I was treated," has coached at Carver, Edmondson, Southern, and had assisted Pompey at Dunbar since 1987. Pompey's removal was a big disruption, said Robinson.

"They took away half of the department and left me there by myself," said Robinson, who enters her third year in Dunbar's physical education department.

The letter delivered to Amprey's office by linebacker/basketball player Tommy Polley and others last week contends that "the entire graduating class paid the price of your decision to remove" Pompey.

Said Pompey: "Whether athletically or academically, Dunbar has a great reputation for getting inner-city kids an opportunity to afford college.

"If people would bother to stick their noses into the school they'd find that out."

Mitchell said only two former football players are attending Division I programs after graduating last year. One, said Pompey, got in "only after I wrote over 50 letters for him."

"Coach Pompey was always there during the summer to guide you," Polley said.

"But when the seasons ended, we never saw the interim coaches again. We want Pete Pompey back -- and I don't see why he's not back."

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