City schools coach, AD Milburn dies after battle with leukemia

January 10, 2004|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Art Milburn guided Edmondson and Northwestern high schools through some of their most prosperous times in athletics with a reasonable, no-nonsense approach.

Milburn was characterized Thursday night as a man "who had an answer for everything" by fellow athletic director Mark Schlenoff.

Milburn, 73, died early Thursday morning at his home in Reisterstown after a long battle with leukemia.

"Art was one of most well-spoken guys I've known," said Schlenoff, who was AD at Carver when Milburn was athletic director and a track coach at Edmondson in the 1970s. "He was erudite. He loved track and officiated the sport almost up to the end. I saw him at a meet at Poly just in the past year."

Former Douglass AD John Nash said yesterday, "Baltimore city schools and we all have lost a great man. He was a dynamic person. He was old-school."

Nash and Milburn remained close friends as members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

"Art would do anything for the fraternity they asked him to," Nash said. "He was our chaplain. He was so well-liked and gracious. But he wouldn't hesitate to say what was on his mind."

Milburn gave Pete Pompey his first chance to coach football at Edmondson, and Pompey said yesterday that he will never forget that opportunity.

"Art was a great athletic director," Pompey said. "He put together a tremendous athletic program at Edmondson and deserves so much credit for bringing along young guys into coaching. He was so sincere about running a first-class program for boys and girls."

Milburn was born and raised in Elkton and graduated in 1947 from George Washington Carver High, where he ran track and played basketball and soccer.

He graduated in 1952 from Maryland State College, now UMES, where he received a degree in physical education and ran track.

Jimmy Fields ran the 880 and mile at Edmondson for Milburn in 1971 and 1972.

"He wasn't into coaching for himself," said Fields, who visited Milburn in the hospital when he was ill. "He wanted good things for his athletes."

Milburn was the first African-American chosen by the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association as its AD of the Year in 1983, when he was at Northwestern.

He was a longtime advocate of parity for girls sports, promoting co-ed physical education in 1972 and leading an effort to upgrade girls sports even before Title IX, the 1972 act of Congress that mandated gender equity in college athletics.

Milburn began coaching football and track at Forest Park in 1964, and moved to Edmondson two years later to coach football, wrestling and track. In 1971, he took over as AD at Edmondson.

Milburn left Edmondson in 1978 for a one-year stop at Carver before moving on to Northwestern, where he spent 14 years before retiring in 1992.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3200 Walbrook Ave.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; two daughters, Amelia Joseph and Terri Milburn; a stepson, John Grimes; a stepdaughter, Bridget Darden; four brothers, Rodney Milburn, Melvin Price, William Price and Kennard Price; and a sister, Joan Saunders.

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