Steve Baker, Bryan Moorhouse and Daryl Wade each begin their first full season as varsity coaches this week. Each will play in different leagues and have different coaching styles.
But each are links to successful eras and face the challenge of maintaining -- or reviving -- them as the first full week of the 1995-96 high school basketball season begins tomorrow.
Baker, 30, is at Parkville. His father, Paul, was the basketball coach at the University of Baltimore from 1965-1971 and Wheeling College from 1971-1979, and is now a scout for the Washington Bullets.
At Cardinal Gibbons, Moorhouse becomes its second coach in school history, replacing Ray Mullis, who died a year ago after six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Mullis, the area's winningest coach, had a career record of 620-346 and won six Catholic League titles in 31 seasons.
"It's kind of like of Doug DeCinces replacing Brooks Robinson at third base," said Moorhouse, an assistant to Mullis for 22 seasons. "I was with Coach [Mullis] for a long time, so, for the kids, there won't be a big change in philosophy."
City hopes to change its fortunes with Daryl Wade as its new coach. Wade is the son of former Dunbar High and University of Maryland coach Bob Wade. The elder Wade, now the director of the Baltimore City Department of Parks and Recreation, won two national championships at Dunbar in 12 seasons before coaching Maryland for three seasons.
"I eat, drink and sleep basketball," said Wade, 28. "I've been interested in coaching ever since I played in high school. A lot of players just wanted to play, I wanted to learn and understand the game."
Wade was a reserve on Dunbar's 1985 national championship team. The last three seasons, he was an assistant to Woody Williams at Mervo and coached the junior varsity to three winning seasons.
Baker, a former assistant at Towson State under Terry Truax from 1989 to 1993, was the strength coach for Loyola College's men's and women's basketball programs in the 1993-1994 season and a counselor at the Five-Star summer basketball camps for the last eight years.
"I've a great teacher in my father, but coaches like Terry Truax and Skip Prosser have helped mold me," said Baker. "I'm one who thinks there's no such thing as pressure, especially in sports and athletics."
Moorhouse played for Mullis in the early 1970s, and his son, Colin, will play for him.
Although Moorhouse will have a top 20 team that will be contention for the Catholic League title, Wade and Baker will be facing rebuilding situations. Over the past two seasons, City and Parkville have gone 17-24 and 3-36, respectively.
"I feel blessed that I'm getting this opportunity," said Wade, whose team opens up with at Calvert Hall tomorrow. "I get a chance to coach against, and hopefully hang in there, with the likes of Paul Smith [Dunbar], Meredith Smith [Southern-Baltimore] and Lynn Badham [Douglass]."
There have been other changes -- besides some new coaches -- since the end of last season. Following the lead of its boys and girls soccer and volleyball tournaments, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association boys basketball tourney will be an open format. Any school wishing to participate must file an application by Jan. 15. On Feb. 18, a blind draw for bracket positions will be held at Lake Clifton.
The revised format eliminates the point system and allows schools to play each other regardless of classification and adds an extra round of playoffs.
For area basketball fans, that also means some of the area's biggest rivalries -- Dunbar-Annapolis (Dec. 15), Lake Clifton-Dunbar (Jan. 19), Southern-Dunbar (Feb. 2) -- will be renewed.