Atholton track coach says he's out of job


Maurice Sydnor, The Sun's All-Metro Coach of the Year in boys indoor track and field who guided the Atholton boys team to its first state title in eight years this past winter, said he was not retained by the school to continue coaching the track and field program.

Sydnor said he was told on Feb. 22 - two days after the Raiders captured the Class 3A-2A state championship - by athletic director Chuck Fales that a teacher within Atholton requested the head coaching position that Sydnor had held.

Because Sydnor is not a teacher within the Howard County public school system and is classified as an "emergency coach," his contract is reviewed after every sports season, and priority is given to teachers within the system.

"I guess with the way everything came about with the timing of the championship, it was really unexpected," Sydnor said yesterday. "But what could I say? I just packed my things and said goodbye to the kids."

Fales did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Sydnor is the second track and field coach in as many years to lead the Raiders to a state crown and not be rehired. Brian Funk coached the girls squads that won the Class 2A state title last spring, but he was dismissed, too.

Asked if the coaching changes were a coincidence or if they were symptomatic of something deeper, Sydnor replied: "I don't really know why they would do something like that."

Sydnor said he wished that he would have been allowed to finish coaching the school year.

"To be fair, they should have at least let me finish out the year," he said. "This ultimately affects the kids."

For now, Sydnor said he will concentrate on a graduate degree in teaching at the University of Maryland. Sydnor, the special teams coach on the Atholton football team, said he is undecided whether he will return to that position.

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