If clothes make the man, what do Pete Pompey's jazzy suits, coordinated pocket scarves and bright ties make him?
"They make me feel good about myself," says the 52-year-old athletic director of Dunbar High School.
They also give him a psychological edge when he's coaching the school's championship football and basketball teams. He gives most of the credit to his wife, Barbara, and 24-year-old daughter, Rhonda, who send him out of the family's West Baltimore home " in style.
Not only do they shop for him, they even select his clothes the day of a big game.
"They rescue me," Mr. Pompey says, "again and again."
What makes you dress so well to sweat it out on the sidelines?
I think it's professional. Basketball is business, and that's the way business people dress.
What do you like to wear?
At practice, some type of sweat suit, usually by Reebok. For football games, we have Dunbar attire -- sweat suits and jackets and khaki pants. For basketball games, I like to wear a suit -- nothing flashy but something that looks nice. I like double-breasted suits you can wear all year-round, ties with lots of colors and crazy socks. The material can't be too heavy. In the heat of a game, you don't want a wool suit on.
Does it make a difference?
If you look like Pat Riley, you can sometimes fool other coaches into thinking that you know what you're doing. But I can't afford the suits that he wears. I've got to get replicas.
Do you have a winningest outfit?
I used to. It was a grayish-tan suit. I won two basketball championships with it. The third year it was at the cleaners, so I wore a black pinstripe suit and we won anyway. I figure it's not what you wear; it's the players you have.
Have you ever thrown something away after losing a game?
I can't afford that. I've thought about it, but I'm not that crazy. There were a couple of shirts I kept losing in, so I put them in the cupboard for a while.
Who has better style, you or your players?
It depends. If you're talking about the latest, newest thing, they -- know about it. But if you're talking suits, I got the edge. Where do you shop?
Sam Glass and Webster's. They are reasonable places with quality stuff.
What's the shelf life of your clothes?
Until they wear out or I outgrow them, whichever comes first. Accessories -- scarves, socks, ties and cuff links -- can do good things for an older suit.
What wouldn't you be caught dead in today?
I would never wear a big, wide gold rope around my neck or those black high-top boots. I don't like the message that sends.
What was your most traumatic event involving clothes?
Last year when the team dumped buckets of water on me after we won the championship. I was wearing a new suit I had just bought the day before. . . . Lucky for me, they didn't have Gatorade.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St. Baltimore 21278.