To squelch a rampant rumor that has been circulating in football and county athletic circles, Brad Best has no plans to resign as football coach and athletic director at St. Mary's in Annapolis.
Best, Saints' coach for the past 10 years (59-41, .590), led them to their greatest season in 1996 (8-2). That year they won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship and finished No. 1 in The Sun's Top 15 for the first time.
Best also was named The Sun's county and metro Coach of the Year in 1996.
This fall, the Saints suffered their first losing season (1-9) under Best since his first year (3-7), but the team was young and inexperienced. That, and his increased duties as Saints' athletic director at a time when the school administration is de-emphasizing athletics, prompted the rumors.
"I know people have been talking, but I do not plan to resign as either football coach or AD," said Best. "Maybe down the road I would step down as football coach and stay on as AD, but at this time I plan to coach the football team."
A continuing problem for the Saints is the lack of fields and facilities. The school, off Duke of Gloucester Street in Annapolis, has no fields, only concrete.
The Saints' teams use Weems Whelan field, Germantown Elementary School and Anne Arundel Community College for athletic events. Scheduling home games can be a headache, as Best has learned.
Two weighing retirement
North County's Steve Malone, a long-time county soccecoach, and Arundel football coach Bill Zucco are considering retirement.
Malone, who left coaching in 1993, would be stepping down this time as a teacher for more than 30 years, possibly at mid-year.
He coached Andover's boys soccer team for its last 23 years. When Andover and Brooklyn Park merged to form North County in 1990, Malone coached the Knights before retiring after the 1993 season.
In Andover's 29th and final year, 1989, Malone led the Archers to a share of the Class 2A state championship with Hereford, their only boys soccer title. The final was a double-overtime, scoreless draw.
At North County, Malone's Knights got to the state final four in 1992. In his final season, 1993, they lost 5-4 in double overtime to Severna Park for the Class 4A East region title.
Malone, state soccer tournament director, teaches physical education at the Ferndale school.
At Arundel, Zucco has not made up his mind whether to return next fall as football coach. He, too, has been considering retirement, but with the Wildcats winning their last five games this fall after losing their first five, his enthusiasm was restored.
"I haven't made a decision yet -- want to think about it for a while," said Zucco, who said he is leaning toward returning.
Greg Wojtech, Arundel's three-sport standout who played football and received a lacrosse scholarship to UMBC, posted the most points at the county public-school indoor track meet at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore this week.
Wojtech anchored the Wildcats' gold medal 3,200-meter relay team (8: 55.1) and was also first in the 500- (1: 14.1) and 800-meter (2: 15.6) runs. He led his team to a surprising second-place finish behind Old Mill's boys, 102-74.
Arundel won the girls event over Old Mill, 112-96, with the latter's Jackie Allen the only double winner. Allen took gold in the 55-meterdash (7.1) and pole vault (7-0).
Frye to the CFL?
Mark Frye Jr., The Sun's 1994 county football Player of the Year at Severna Park, has been talked to by a couple Canadian Football League teams about a tryout when he finishes Loyola College this year.
Frye, a lacrosse-scholarship holder at Loyola whose father, Mark Sr., coaches football at Meade, has impressed a few CFL scouts who have watched him play lacrosse.
The speed, quickness and instinctive moves that made him a threat to score from anywhere on the football field as a Severna Park running back, are evident on the lacrosse field, as well.
One scout, who wished to remain anonymous, said that "the interest in Mark is serious. We think he could do well in the CFL as a receiver or kick returner."
Looking back on the high school football season, do you realize that only two of the county's 15 football teams had winning records? Broadneck was 11-1 and Annapolis was 8-3.
Just five teams were .500: Arundel, Meade, Old Mill, Severna Park and Archbishop Spalding all went 5-5. Two were winless: Glen Burnie and Northeast. The 15 schools' cumulative record was 62-91 (.405).
Catholic League girls basketball showdown, 3: 30 p.m. today: No. 3-ranked St. Mary's at No. 11 Archbishop Spalding.
Arnold's Robert Bigelow and Glen Burnie's Jeff Lukeski were 1-2 the 10th Anne Arundel Community College 5K Turkey Trot, which drew a record 94 runners. Amy Gelazela, of Annapolis, and Severna Park's Helen Brennan were the top women's finishers.
The Anne Arundel Womens' Lacrosse Association is sponsoring "winter ball" with six-on-six modified rules for high schoolers and seventh- and eighth-graders on weekends at Annapolis Middle School and South River High School. Info and sign-up: 410-956-6970.
Have a note for Sidelines? Call Pat O'Malley's 24-hour Sportsline at 410-647-2499.
Pub Date: 12/13/98