Despite 143-23 record, Lee fired at Dunbar

Varsity

January 10, 2007|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,Sun Reporter

Eric Lee confirmed last night that he has been fired as Dunbar's boys basketball coach by principal Roger Shaw, ending a six-year run at his alma mater that included a record of 143-23, five of the Poets' 11 state titles since 1993 and appearances in the state championship game each season.

Shaw would not elaborate on the details of Lee's firing, which became official Friday, but several sources, including Lee's brother, Kirk Lee, said his removal stemmed at least in part from Eric Lee's allowing an adult league funded by his brother's Kurk Lee Foundation to use Dunbar's gymnasium on the morning of Dec. 17.

The move was an apparent violation of a rule pertaining to unauthorized use of Baltimore City public school facilities, according to sources.

"We have some administrative concerns with problems of protocol and process," Shaw said. "Mainly, we're moving in another direction at this point."

Eric Lee said he has not coached the Poets (3-2) at all this season, having been replaced by assistant Darnell Dantzler. Lee said yesterday he was told by Shaw that, "I can finish out the year and then you're fired" during a Jan. 3 meeting that included assistant principal Steven Colbert.

"I told them that I would think about it," said Lee. "But then, a couple of days later, they called me back and said, `Forget about that, you're just fired,' that they wanted to go in another direction and I wasn't on the same page as them."

Eric and Kirk Lee were stars on Dunbar's mythical national championship team in 1985.

"I feel as though I was not being treated fairly," Lee said. "What is the process he's referring to? As a coach, I have over 150 wins and the administrators want to go in another direction? What direction do you want to go in?"

Kirk Lee said his 30-and-over post office league used Dunbar's gymnasium "for one day" to play a series of games involving six teams on Dec. 17. "We usually play at the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center," said Kirk Lee, "but they had something going on that day."

Kirk Lee said the league's presence became known to members and coaches of the Poets' state championship team who reported to Dunbar for a bus ride down to the Ravens-Browns game.

Lee was named All-Metro Coach of the Year after his initial season in 2001 for taking the Poets through a 27-1 season capped by a 45-43, Class 2A state championship victory over Wicomico.

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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