Pompey ruling due in week

August 17, 1994|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Staff Writer

Former Dunbar athletic director and coach Pete Pompey, ousted from his jobs nearly 14 months ago because of alleged misuse of athletic funds, will have to wait at least one more week to discover whether he can return to the East Baltimore school.

That's when the school board is expected to decide after hearing a recommendation from city schools Superintendent Walter G. Amprey.

Amprey did not say what action he would recommend to the board.

Amprey's announcement came at the school administration building last night after his two-hour, 45-minute meeting with Pompey and his attorney, William H. Murphy Jr., and after another two-hour meeting with the school board.

"No decision was made, and there will be nothing forthcoming for probably a week," said Amprey. "There are plenty of options involved here, from a recommendation to transfer, demotion, to all kinds of other consequential, punitive kinds of things. The request, though, was whether Pete Pompey would go back to Dunbar."

Last week, Amprey said he did not want to return Pompey to Dunbar, but would seek the school board's blessing for any decision. Last night, Amprey said: "I could act without involving board members, but this is one in which the community is involved in calling board members."

Pompey, who coached the football team and the Poets' nationally ranked basketball program, has sought to return since Aug. 5, when the Baltimore state's attorney's office announced there was insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges. Pompey had been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation was conducted.

The investigation's findings have been reviewed by school board lawyer Avery Aisenstark and will be reviewed by Amprey and the school board over the next few days, Amprey said.

"Coach Pompey wants to go back to Dunbar," said Murphy. "We made that really clear, and that's what we hope will happen. . . . We had what we believe was a constructive meeting, and we await what we hope will be a positive response."

Meanwhile, Dunbar apparently still hasn't named a permanent replacement for Pompey as football coach. Principal Charlotte Brown had said she would announce a new coach yesterday, but she did not do so. Brown couldn't be reached yesterday.

Brown interviewed interim football coach Stanley Mitchell and former Pompey assistant Gerard White on Monday. Dunbar has held two practices under Mitchell, and he reported Monday's turnout at about 35 players -- 10 more than on the first day last year.

Pompey said he was heartened that a new coach hasn't been named.

"It gives me a great deal of hope when people keep being listed as interim," said Pompey. "There's nothing final, so there's an opportunity."

After the investigation, Amprey cited "inappropriate behaviors" as the reasons Pompey would not return to Dunbar.

In fact, Amprey said, he had planned to transfer Pompey last summer, before the investigation began.

"While that was what I said initially, I listened very carefully and honestly to what was said [by Pompey and Murphy]," said Amprey. "There is a real strong case for sticking with [his original decision], but I'm going to not make a decision and try to work with the board and look at this again based on what was discussed today."

While Pompey, Murphy and Amprey met in the administration building on North Avenue yesterday afternoon, about 25 Pompey supporters waited outside, having arrived about a half-hour before the meeting.

There were 18 athletes and former athletes from Dunbar present, including 1989 graduate David Lewis, who met with Amprey and gave him petitions backing Pompey. Gail

Robinson, interim athletic director at Dunbar, said 1,307 signatures were collected over four days.

"We do not understand why you continue to refuse to reinstate Coach Pompey when his students, players and the parents of his students and players keep telling you what a positive impact he has on the young people he deals with," the petitions state.

"Now that the investigation has been closed and no charges have been filed, we believe he should be returned to his job at Dunbar."

A rally in support of Pompey, with several former Dunbar stars slated to appear, is scheduled for today at 5:30 p.m. in front of the administration building, said Lori Phelps, an attorney and a volunteer tutor in Dunbar's Scholastic Assessment Test preparatory program.

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