Coach resigns amid scandal Gwynn Lake's Hall being investigated after sex complaint

December 19, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Gwynn Lake girls basketball coach Roland Hall resigned last week after school officials suspended him pending an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct by Hall toward one of his players.

This is the latest in a series of controversial incidents involving the Woodlawn Christian school's girls basketball program, which became an instant success in its first year of play last season.

The player, who had been living on Caroline Street in Baltimore City with Hall and his girlfriend, Yvette Brown, since September, claimed that Hall made sexual advances toward her while she was staying there, according to Hall.

The matter has been turned over to Baltimore's Child Protective Services, said Gwynn Lake principal Marion Spann. In such cases, a social worker and a police detective work jointly on an investigation. Once the investigation is completed, a report is sent to the city state's attorney's office, where a determination is made on whether there is sufficient evidence to press criminal charges. The investigation is mandated to be completed in 67 days.

The Sun is withholding the name of the player because it is the paper's policy not to identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.

Hall said the charges of inappropriate behavior are false.

He said that he had invited the player to stay with him and Brown because of poor living conditions at the player's home. However, Brown asked the player to leave on Nov. 28 because "she couldn't follow the rules," Hall said.

Hall was informed about the player's allegations during a meeting with school officials eight days ago.

"I had heard rumors before the meeting, and I could tell the girls' attitude toward me had changed," Hall said. "[Spann] said I couldn't coach until they investigate it, and I said I'm not coaching anymore anyway."

Hall said his reasons for leaving go beyond the charges of sexual misconduct, citing differences with the administration over the school's curriculum and budget for athletics.

Spann declined to elaborate on Hall's situation, other than confirming that he was no longer coaching and that an investigation into the player's charges was in progress.

Hall has approached Catonsville Community College about working as an assistant with the men's team, a position he held before coming to Gwynn Lake.

Nanchez Graham, the brother of athletic director Donchez Graham, has taken over for Hall at Gwynn Lake as interim coach.

Despite going 27-4 and finishing as the fifth-ranked team in the metro area last season, problems with the Gwynn Lake girls basketball program were present almost from its inception.

As a member of the Christian Schools Athletic Association last season, the Lakers apparently violated league rules against recruiting by offering scholarships to girls basketball players.

Four athletes and their families told The Sun last March that they were approached by either Hall or Donchez Graham and offered scholarships to play basketball at the school.

No action was taken by the league, which was dissolved after last season.

Gwynn Lake's use of underage players also was called into question last season.

The school, which has students in grades 4 through 12, has an independent study curriculum that allows students to accelerate classes above their chronological age. Gwynn Lake had three players last season who were classified as freshmen who would have been seventh- or eighth-graders chronologically.

In February, Hall was involved in an incident with spectators during Gwynn Lake's game at St. Mary's. Hall flashed an obscene gesture in response to the fans' catcalls after he had slipped and fallen during an emotional outburst directed at the officials.

After the turmoil of last season, the Lakers, who are 1-4, have had difficulty finding local opponents willing to play them.

Except for its game against Bryn Mawr next month, Gwynn Lake's schedule is composed entirely of teams from outside the metro area, including teams from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and New Jersey.

Pub Date: 12/19/97

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