When the final bell sounded Friday at Dulaney High, it signaled the end of another school year for students at the Timonium school.
For Bob Dean, the dean of Baltimore County track coaches and a fixture in Dulaney High School's athletic department, it signaled the end of a career that has spanned nearly four decades.
After 37 years of educating students in both the academic and athletic arenas, Dean, 59, is stepping down. Although he doesn't officially retire until July 30, Dean began cleaning out his office last week, making room for a yet-to-be-named successor.
"Dulaney will replace its athletic director but they're never going to replace Bob Dean and what he stood for to young people in Baltimore County," said Ron Belinko, coordinator of Baltimore County's office of athletics. "I never coached the same sport as Bob, but as I worked track meets I learned to respect him for what he stood for. Every decision Bob ever made was for the benefit of the youngsters."
Perry Hall veteran coach Jerry Martin, who has coached against Dean since he came to the county in 1968, said he will miss their rivalry and friendship.
"When I began coaching in Baltimore County, Bob was the standard by which we all had to judge ourselves and that set the bar pretty high," Martin said. "When I got here Bob was already at Dulaney and the dynasty was already rolling. At that point, all the county coaches felt like we were running for second place. No one even considered beating Dulaney."
And few teams did.
During his tenure as coach of Dulaney's cross country, track and field and indoor track teams, Dean led the Lions to 11 state championships, 22 region titles and 45 county crowns. Dean also nurtured Olympian Bobby Wheeler, a 1970 Dulaney graduate who held a national record in the indoor 600 and later won an NCAA title, and national high school cross country champion Amanda White (1993).
"I feel blessed and fortunate to have the opportunity to play a small part in Bobby Wheeler's successes, Amanda's and many others," Dean said. "Sometimes I ask myself, 'Why me? Why was I in the right place at the right time?' "
Dean, a native of Durham, N.C., met his wife, Carol, a Milford Mill graduate, while attending High Point College in Durham and moved to the Baltimore area in 1962.
Al Miller, Parkville's athletic director, gave Dean his first coaching opportunity as a volunteer assistant in 1962. In the fall of 1964, Dean started the cross country team (boys only) at Dulaney and that same year led the Lions' boys basketball team to a 12-4 record.
In 1965, Dulaney's boys captured the first of seven county cross country titles.
After building Dulaney's running program into a perennial power, Dean left the school in 1970 because "like a lot of young coaches I wanted to see if I could go to that next level." He spent five years at College Park and led the Terps' cross country team to Atlantic Coast Conference titles in 1972 and 1974 before returning to the Baltimore County school system in 1975.
He spent three years coaching and teaching at Franklin and returned to Dulaney in 1978 to take over his post as athletic director.
"I enjoyed the level of competition coaching at Maryland but I missed my wife and kids [Betsy, now 33, and Michael, 31] and decided it was best to return to high school coaching," said Dean.
"Bob was a firm coach but everyone respected him," said Gayle Schmith-Kelly, a 1982 Dulaney graduate. "I remember coming to practice late because of a senior project and I thought it was a great excuse but Coach Dean made me stay after practice to finish my workout. At the time, I didn't know why he was being so tough on me but as I grew older it became clear to me what was trying to do."
NOTE: Dulaney is organizing a reunion for cross country and track and field athletes who competed under Dean next Sunday at the Dulaney High track. For details, call George Piasecki at 410-665-1476 or Chris Truett at 410-592-5277.
Pub Date: 6/07/98