Northeast's Lentz battles brain tumor

October 14, 1994|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Harry Lentz of Northeast, who has more victories than any other Anne Arundel County baseball coach, has a brain tumor and is undergoing daily chemotherapy treatments.

The tumor was discovered nearly two weeks ago at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"I really don't expect to return to work," said Lentz, 51. "I can't do anything except take the treatments and hope for the best. About a week ago, I was still jogging and lifting weights, but I can't do those things now. Not much I can do."

Lentz was at his vacation home in the Pennsylvania mountains a couple weeks ago when he experienced difficulty with his left hand and left foot. The lack of strength in the hand and foot continued, and he was taken to the hospital for tests.

"Harry couldn't put his shoe on, lost all the strength in his left side," said former Northeast football coach John Zuger, who has visited Lentz and said the coach is upbeat.

"He's depressed somewhat, but realistic about his condition. He's still . . . giving people a lot of guff like he does, questioning everything the doctors are doing."

Terry Lentz said that her husband "will get through this and is not one to give up."

Lentz has a career record of 345-199 (.634) in 27 seasons, including state championships in 1975, 1991 and 1992 plus a district title in 1973 before the state championships began.

In 1991, the Class 2A Eagles became the first team in Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association history to go 24-0. The Easton Sports National High School Poll named the Eagles national champions.

Lentz was named Baltimore Sun Baseball Coach of the Year and his center fielder-pitcher Craig Everett, The Baltimore Sun's Player of the Year. Everett hit .442 with four homers and 30 RBIs and was 8-0 with an ERA of 1.66. "It's the best team in state history," Lentz said afterward.

"Coach always had us prepared to play and would do anything for any of us," said K. C. Murphy, the Northeast second baseman in 1991. "It was a special team with a special coach."

Lentz also coached the Northeast football team for five seasons, the last in 1982. The Eagles had 13 consecutive losing seasons until Lentz led them to a 7-3 record in 1980. The next year, they were 9-2 and reached the state playoffs.

After retiring as Northeast football coach, Lentz kept his hand in football as a scout for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, and in recent years was an assistant with the Navy lightweight team and at Bowie State.

Lentz also has been an associate scout for the Orioles, working under territorial supervisor Jim Gilbert the past seven years.

While in treatment, Lentz said he would prefer cards and letters to phone calls.

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