Boyd `well-loved' by Walbrook peers

Drug charges shock those associated with former Towson U. star

February 11, 1999|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Greg Matthews, a vice principal at Walbrook High School, described special education teacher Devin Boyd as "a great employee." One of Boyd's former teachers at Walbrook, John Turpin, called Boyd "an excellent leader." And Dante Truitt, a Walbrook basketball player, said the man who sometimes helped coached the Warriors "was my man."

None of them, however, knew that Devin Boyd -- Towson University basketball's all-time leading scorer -- was in trouble with the law, including an arrest this past weekend on a charge of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Police said Boyd, 28, was arrested and charged Saturday after they obtained a warrant for his Catonsville apartment and found 60 grams of crack cocaine, a scale and other drug paraphernalia. He was released on bail the next day.

Boyd, who was hired at Walbrook in September, was placed on administrative leave.

For the Walbrook student body, the news came as a double blow. Last week, the students were shaken by the death of popular guidance counselor Judy Little, who was crushed by her car in a freak accident in her driveway.

During Walbrook's 61-48 loss to No. 9 Calvert Hall last night, Truitt, a 6-foot-4 senior, did his best to emulate his idol, including a dunk -- "That was for him" -- among his 17 points.

"He was my man. The shooting in my game. The rebounding. He helped me to be a stronger player," Truitt said. "It's a bad situation for him right now, but it hasn't stopped us. He's still my man and I don't think any less of him."

Said first-year Walbrook coach Kelvin Bridges, who replaced Gus Herrington after 22 seasons: "We lost a teacher. We have a young ballclub, and I'm learning.

"We prayed together as a team for strength for Mr. Boyd. Whatever occurred, I don't know. But I do know that Devin Boyd is well-loved all around the school, by all of us all over the program. I hope everything works out for the best."

Assistant basketball coach Kevin Williams, a school police officer and 1979 Walbrook graduate, said he has known Boyd "since he was knee-high."

"He's one of the few brothers who came out of the neighborhood, got a degree and is giving back to the community. He's one of four boys in his family, three of whom have degrees," Williams said. "I love him, I have a great deal of respect for him and I appreciate the things that he does. As far as his personal life, I can't speak on it. People make mistakes, but I do think that whatever he did, he did it away from the school and that it didn't have anything to do with the kids."

Turpin, a physical education teacher at Walbrook for the past 29 years, knew Boyd as a model student-athlete.

"I'd say he was a very good student who displayed excellent leadership qualities in the classroom," said Turpin, 50. "I was shocked to hear everything. You hope that he rebounds from this, and that it doesn't get to the point where he has to sacrifice his freedom."

The message to students, Turpin said, should be: Don't take the risk, don't take the chance.

"Down here in the Junction, the kids see a lot of things," he said. "You just have to hope that the kids learn from the ramifications of his actions."

Boyd was hired as a special education instructor in biology. He made an immediate impression on the students, according to Matthews, the vice principal.

"Devin was a great employee. Came to work every day, on time," Matthews said. "The kids loved him. To them, he was a good role model."

City school officials said they are awaiting the results of a criminal background check on Boyd that they had requested in September. According to an Anne Arundel County warrant, Boyd was charged with a third-degree sex offense involving a 15-year-old on Feb. 3. Records also show an outstanding warrant stemming from a 1994 sexual assault case in which he failed to appear in court.

Pub Date: 2/11/99

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