Former Dunbar assistant football coach Ben Eaton will be the Poets' new head coach, athletic director Barbara Allen announced yesterday.
Eaton, 49, a 1966 Douglass High graduate and a 1974 graduate of Morgan State, fills the vacancy left by former coach Stanley Mitchell, who was encouraged to resign during the winter after taking the Poets to Baltimore City's first two state titles, three title-game appearances, and five state semifinal berths.
"There were a few [candidates] interviewed, but Ben Eaton was the best qualified," said Allen, who also was to inform the players yesterday. "Ben is the positive role model our kids need. Ben knows our kids, and the kids love him, and he's well-thought of around the state."
Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall, winner of five state championships, worked with Eaton as part of the coaching staff of Maryland's team that beat Northern Virginia in last June's Chesapeake Football Classic.
"Ben's one of the best coaches I've ever been around, including Division I coaches," DuVall said. "I'd love to have him on my staff. It would make things a lot easier."
Eaton's assistants will be former Poets' assistant Anthony Clark and former college assistant Anderson Lee Powell.
The team Eaton inherits will have a solid corps from last fall's state runners-up, beginning with second-team All-Metro wide receiver Chris Barnes, second-team All-Metro defensive back Tyrell Henderson and running back Thomas James, who rushed for over 1,000 yards last season. All three will be seniors.
Senior quarterback Leonard Ferguson, a sometime starter, throws equally well with both hands. He'll also have junior linemen John Jordan (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) and sophomore Antoine Colvin (6-4, 330).
"My main goal is to get as many of the student-athletes academically sound so that they're prepared to go not only to Division I [in college], but to college in general," said Eaton.
"Academics, that's what teaching's all about," Eaton continued. "But after the states, losing to Fort Hill, the kids started hitting weights and have never stopped working. I'm not ashamed to say we're going to be seeking more state titles."
Before joining Mitchell's staff primarily as line coach, the Dunbar physical education teacher was an assistant coach in the college ranks at Virginia State, Fayetteville and Morgan.
A four-year lineman at Douglass, Eaton also wrestled and threw the shot put and discus in track during high school. He played four seasons at Morgan and was a part of legendary coach Earl Banks' 31-game winning streak.
Pub Date: 5/14/98