Duckett's Resignation Major Blow To Severn School, Area Basketball

Sidelines

April 20, 1997|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Tank Duckett's stepping down as boys basketball coach at Severn School is a loss not only to the Admirals but to basketball in general.

A job transfer and health problems forced Duckett to resign after two seasons (33-19, .635).

Severn athletic director Fred Hewitt said he will announce the new coach this week.

A former standout at Severna Park High and Washington College on the Eastern Shore, Duckett is a class act and communicates very well with young people.

You need only ask basketball/football blue-chipper Dennard Melton of the respect the players hold for Duckett.

"We all looked up to Mr. Duckett," said Melton.

Unfortunately, Duckett, 29, discovered he has a diabetic condition and a job transfer facing him. It was imperative he resign as head coach, which he did at season's end.

Before becoming head coach, Duckett was an assistant for two years at Severn to Wayne Fowler.

"On February 14, during our first loss to St. Paul's, the symptoms flared up," Duckett said. "I became disoriented, had trouble seeing the scoreboard.

"After the game, I went to the hospital and they told me my sugar count was 690, which is very high. I was fortunate I got in there when I did. After they gave me shots of insulin, my blood-[sugar] count went down to 250."

Duckett was first told by his physicians that he could have another attack and advised him to stop coaching.

"But I told them I had to coach, had a championship to win," Duckett said. "I was fortunate they gave me shots to enable me to finish the season."

Severn didn't win the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) B Conference title, losing a 64-62 heartbreaker to St. Paul's.

The Severn athletic director wanted to keep Duckett's resignation quiet until next week, but everybody in the Severna Park community is talking about it. Hewitt says the school has its new coach, but "we're not ready to announce it until next week."

Paul Pellicani, who has been the Severna Park coach for the past four years, was a frequent visitor to Severn games near the end of the season. Pellicani would not comment Friday whether he has been offered the job. The advantage of recruiting appeals to Pellicani, who ran a prep program at Maine Central before coming to Maryland. Pellicani also has a lot of friends among Severn alumni.

As for Duckett, he said, "I might show up again somewhere in the near future."

It would be interesting if Pellicani moved down the street (Evergreen Road) to Severn and Duckett took the Severna Park job.

Duckett was JV coach at Severna Park under Wayne Mook, the current athletic director, and has always wanted to coach his alma mater. Within days of Duckett's introduction as Severn coach two years ago, Mook resigned at Severna Park and Pellicani landed the Falcons post.

Sideliners

Severn's Melton, a junior, was out with the Admirals' fledgling baseball team last week. Dean Albany, The Sun's Player of the Year with Brooklyn Park in 1981 and later a minor-league pitcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates' system, conducted a pitching and base-running clinic for the Admirals last week. Albany, who coaches the 15-year-old Maryland Orioles said of Melton, "What a great athlete. If he ever took baseball seriously, he could become a pro prospect."

Arundel's 1996 All-County right-hander, Derek Loosararian, a freshman at Salisbury State, evened his record at 2-2 last week with a four-hitter over Frostburg State.

Baseball fans can catch three local products playing in the minors this summer by taking a drive to Hagerstown or Delmarva in Salisbury. Those teams are in the Single-A South Atlantic League.

Old Mill's Ken Pumphrey is pitching for the New York Mets' Capital City (S.C.) Bombers; Pasadena resident, Steve Matcuk, who graduated from Mount St. Joe, is pitching for the Colorado Rockies' Asheville (N.C.) Tourists; and former Arundel first baseman Tim Giles is playing for the Toronto Blue Jays' Hagerstown Suns.

Have an idea for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-Hour Sportsline, 410-647-2499.

Pub Date: 4/20/97

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