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Coppin State athletic director resigns

Derrick Ramsey, who was athletic director of Coppin State, has resigned.
Derrick Ramsey, who was athletic director of Coppin State, has resigned. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Saying he wants to "do some other things I enjoy doing," Coppin State athletic director Derrick Ramsey has resigned, the university announced Wednesday.

Ramsey has been athletic director at the West Baltimore school since July 1, 2008, when he was appointed by then-university president Dr. Reginald S. Avery.

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In a brief telephone interview Wednesday, Ramsey said a desire to work elsewhere led to his decision.

"It's been a great run," the 58-year-old former NFL tight end said. "I hope I've been able to do some things to impact the university and the students. It's time for me to go off and do some other things that I would like to do. I'm later in my career now. It's not like I'm at the early part. I'm at the end of my career."

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Dr. Maria Thompson, Coppin State president, said in a written statement that associate athletic director Alecia Shields-Gadson would serve as interim athletic director. Gadson has been the coach of the women's cross country and track and field teams for the past 11 years.

Thompson and men's basketball coach Michael Grant did not return requests for comment. The university said in a statement that "we are not at liberty to discuss personnel matters," and would have no further comment.

Ramsey was unsure about his future plans, but said he plans to get more involved with a foundation he runs called Athletes Helping Youth and to focus on helping boys in middle school. "My passion is to help young people," he said.

Former men's basketball coach Fang Mitchell, who was fired by Ramsey after the 2013-14 season, said the university needed to make a change.

"From working with him, we didn't always agree," Mitchell said. "I was there for 28 years and I remember the relationships that we had with [former school president] Dr. [Calvin W.] Burnett and the Coppin family, and I didn't see that anymore at Coppin. I'm just looking forward to some change. I am an alumnus of the school."

Ramsey chuckled when informed of Mitchell's comment.

"Well, when you terminate a coach, he's not going to send me flowers and buy me dinner," Ramsey said. "I don't want to get into that. It's been a good run. That's my only comment to this thing. Coppin was good to me, and I hope I was good to them."

Ramsey's campus office was vandalized Nov. 2 when his glass door was shattered by a man with an aluminum bat, police said. School officials would not discuss the incident, and Ramsey said it had nothing to do with his decision to leave.

According to charging documents filed in Baltimore District Court, Alvin Elliott Lee and Zakiya Shani Smith Lee, both of Bowie, arrived at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex asking for Ramsey and were told he was not in. Alvin Lee went to Ramsey's office, pulled out a 36-inch bat and struck the door four or five times, according to the charging documents. An administrative assistant called campus police.

The Lees were charged with misdemeanor counts of malicious destruction of property valued under $1,000, and Alvin Lee was also charged with trespassing.

The couple did not respond to requests for comment. Ramsey would not talk about the incident: "I only want to talk about the positive things. I don't want to get into that kind of mess."

Ramsey noted that under his leadership, the athletic department had 14 consecutive semesters of an above-3.0 GPA and had raised the graduation rate to 75 percent.

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"There's a lot I'm extremely proud of," he said. "I'm just hoping that with that foundation, they'll continue to move forward."

Before coming to Coppin, Ramsey had served as athletic director at Kentucky State from 1999 to 2003 and community relations director at the University of Kentucky from 1998 to 1999.

Ramsey, a former quarterback at Kentucky who was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2005, played nine seasons in the NFL as a tight end with the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. He was a member of the Raiders team that won the 1981 Super Bowl.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EdwardLeeSun

Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.

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