Franklin dismisses Fuhrman as coach

Lack of supervision key in football team incident, investigation concludes

High Schools

September 22, 2000|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Franklin High football coach Greg Fuhrman was fired yesterday after an investigation into an attack on one of his players by five teammates revealed that the incident occurred in an unsupervised locker room, Baltimore County school officials said.

"There has been an appropriate personnel decision made after a thorough investigation into the incident that occurred on Aug. 30 at Franklin High," said Donna Flynn, Northwest area county schools superintendent. "Mr. Fuhrman will not be the coach of the Franklin football team for the remainder of the school year."

Fuhrman, who had been suspended pending the investigation's outcome, will remain a social studies teacher at the school. He can appeal the decision to Baltimore County schools superintendent Joe Hairston, and further to the county and state school boards.

But the chances of a Baltimore County coach winning an appeal are slim, officials say. County public schools spokesman Charles Herndon said he is not aware of any cases that have been overturned, and Flynn said she has never "been involved in a case where a decision related to a coach has been appealed." Flynn would not say if Fuhrman would be permitted to coach in the county again, saying only that the "action taken applies to this year."

Fuhrman was unavailable to comment.

According to a police report, five players turned out the lights in the locker room and then attacked a teammate, jumping on his back, punching him, hitting him in the neck with a broom and throwing a chair at him.

The victim, who complained of a bruised right shoulder and a sore neck after the brawl, told police he believed he drew his teammates' wrath because they were being punished in practice for his not giving 100 percent. The victim refused medical aid at the scene, but was later treated at a hospital and released. His mother did not press charges.

School principal Dean Terry, Flynn and Herndon would not reveal the fight's details. But Herndon said that an issue in the investigation was that trouble seemed to be brewing among the six players, and that neither Fuhrman nor any assistants were in the locker room at the time of the fight. "There was some indication that there might have been a problem arising," Herndon said. "So part of the problem is that this was an unsupervised locker room."

Herndon said the victim returned to school the next day. He practiced the week before the Indians' second scheduled game, against Overlea last weekend, and played a substantial role in the team's victory. Franklin forfeited its first game against Pikesville after suspending practice for nine days while the investigation continued.

The five teammates, who were suspended from school for three days and from two games, are expected to return to the team after this weekend's game against rival Owings Mills.

Michael Thomas, an ROTC instructor at Franklin, was named interim coach and will finish out the year.

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