N. County JV coach banned applicant claims discrimination

October 21, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

A junior varsity football assistant at North County High School, who coached seven games without the required background check, was banned yesterday by Anne Arundel County school officials after they began investigating his role in an altercation at a game last week.

The volunteer assistant, Maurice Bowie Sr., also had been chosen by the newly appointed head basketball coach, Mike Francis, to coach the school's JV basketball team.

Francis, 29, was named to the head coaching position last Friday in a move that has prompted a disgruntled applicant to contend he is a victim of age and race discrimination.

Danny Mangum, 50, assistant football coach at Glen Burnie, said he was unfairly passed over by administrators who favored Francis because he is young and black. Mangum is white.

"This is all about age and race, not who's the most qualified," Mangum said yesterday.

North County principal Patricia Gronkiewicz and athletic director Mike Baker did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment on Bowie, Francis' selection, and Mangum's allegations.

Mark Black, the supervisor of investigations for the county board of education, said yesterday that Bowie "will no longer be coaching in the county based on the incident."

Bowie gave this account of what happened after he asked youths to move back from his sideline during the JV football game at Glen Burnie on Thursday. When a youth on a bike refused, "I pushed his bike back," Bowie said. The boy fell off the bike, and "my son [Maurice Bowie Jr.] grabbed him by the neck."

"No police report was filed on me," he said, "but they did charge a North County student who kicked the boy."

The younger Bowie, a student at Anne Arundel Community College, was not charged.

"The case is still under investigation and there could be other charges," Lt. Jeff Kelly of the Anne Arundel County Police said yesterday.

Four people were involved, according to the police report, a 15-year-old on the bike, the JV assistant coach and his son, and the 16-year-old juvenile who was charged with a misdemeanor for assaulting the boy.

The injured youth reported "redness on the right side of his neck and cheek," according to Officer John Hall, who filed the police report.

Bowie said, "I'll be back coaching football and JV basketball as soon as I change my paperwork to volunteer coach."

Black confirmed that North County "did not get the appropriate paperwork on him [Bowie]" to the board.

Bowie also is currently under suspension until 1999 by the Anne Arundel Youth Football Association (AAYFA) for attacking an official working the chains in 1996.

The new basketball coach, Francis, referred questions about Bowie to school officials.

Francis, a 1987 grad of Meade whose background is primarily in coaching AAU teams, was one of eight non-teachers who applied for the vacant job created by Brad Wilson's moving to Glen Burnie to coach football and teach physical education.

Francis, who resides in Severn and is employed in security at AACC, says he expects to graduate with a two-year degree from Anne Arundel Community College this year, then attend Towson University.

"I think I was hired because my goal is to be a teacher. That's what separated me from the other candidates," said Francis, who was JV or varsity assistant at North County from 1990 to 1994.

Mangum, who was a varsity assistant to Wilson the last two seasons, followed him to Glen Burnie. At North County, he helped coach basketball, football and lacrosse.

"Mike Baker asked me to apply for the job, so I assumed they wanted me to coach," said Mangum, who has a college degree and was head coach for 12 years at Arlington Baptist High School. "I was told my interview and qualifications were excellent. Yet they didn't hire me. Age was brought up.

"I'm a taxpayer and I have a right to a hearing in front of the school board," said Mangum. "If I have to, I will take it to the EOC."

He said he based his conclusions on remarks made to him last week during a meeting held at his request with county coordinator Marlene Kelly, Baker and Gronkiewicz.

Kelly said she "didn't see any impropriety in the hiring process," that race had nothing to do with it and that "[Mangum's] situation does not warrant a hearing before the board."

Pub Date: 10/21/98

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