Wayne Mook's surprising resignation over the weekend as head boys basketball coach has left the Severna Park High basketball community reeling.
It's not that anyone is going to lose any sleep over Mook's stepping down after 12 seasons and a 127-146 record, but the timing could not have been worse.
A happy ending, though, could be just a phone call away for the Falcons and athletic director Andy Borland.
"It came out of the blue. I had no idea he was hanging it up and I'm pretty close to Wayne," said Charles "Tank" Duckett, Mook's top assistant the past two seasons.
Duckett was a key member of Mook's most successful team, the 1984-85 edition that finished 19-5 overall as a Class 4A region semifinalist.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Severn School named Wayne Fowler as head boys coach, and Fowler, who knows a good man and coach when he sees one, immediately tabbed Duckett as his top assistant.
After graduating from Severna Park, Duckett went on to become a NCAA Division III honorable-mention All-American at Washington College on the Eastern Shore. He coaches recreation basketball in the summer, knows the game and how to teach it.
More importantly, Duckett, 25, knows kids and is one of the most respected people in the Severna Park community. He's a wonderful role model for kids because of all the things he stands for.
"Tank is one of the finest young coaches in the area, because when the season is over, he's right back coaching rec ball," said Fowler, an ex-NFL lineman who was a basketball and football star at Glen Burnie High and the University of Richmond in the late 1960s.
"There is no doubt in my mind that he's going to be an outstanding head coach some day."
Fowler hopes Duckett stays with him, but at the same time, he would understand if Duckett left to become head coach of his alma mater.
Borland, who says Mook resigned because "it wasn't fun anymore," said it's possible that Duckett's departure "might have influenced Wayne's decision."
Mook, whose Falcons were 5-17 this past season, was under pressure from the parents and players who weren't happy with his coaching style.
The basketball team at one of the county's biggest schools and otherwise successful overall athletic programs has been suffering. This season alone, Mook lost players to quitting, suspension and academic ineligibility.
You only have to look at the number of kids in the community who are eligible to play there but choose to go elsewhere to see that there is a problem. Just take this year.
This could have been Severna Park's team this season: Jason Smith, Broadneck (lives in Severna Park, his brother Dean played football for Borland); Brad Fowler and Jamand Mack, Severn School; Norman Nolan, Dunbar (his mother moved out of the Severna Park area to Milford Mill three years ago); Steve Wojciechowski and 6-foot-6 Rick Dent both attend Cardinal Gibbons and live in the Severna Park district, as does Tim O'Hara, who played for Loyola.
Add what was there and you've got a pretty good team, wouldn't you say?
Borland has advertised the position, and when asked whether he expected Duckett to apply, answered, "I would hope so."
Duckett, who is a purchasing agent for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. and not a faculty member, said: "I haven't signed anything at Severn and Andy knows my phone number. It's a great school and they could have a great basketball team."
A lot of people in the Severna Park community have come to know Tank Duckett and hope Borland makes that phone call.