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Coaching change leaves Martin feeling 'shafted'

May 08, 2003|by ANDY MASON

A 115-58-1 dual-meet record, five Washington County titles, three Monocacy Valley Athletic League crowns, a Maryland Class 2A-1A West region championship in 2002 and a state runner-up finish in 1998 with four individual state champs and 30 other state place-winners.

You would think with those accomplishments - which are unparalleled in the county - over his 13 years as head wrestling coach at Williamsport High School, where he graduated in 1981 as a two-time state place-winner himself, Chuck Martin could write his own future with the Wildcats.

Think again.

Martin, 39, of Halfway, is out, and Mike Rechtorovic, 26, of Frederick, Md., Martin's assistant the last two seasons, is in at the helm of the Williamsport wrestling program.

The news came as a shock to both men, especially to Martin, who was the last one to learn of it.

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"(First-year Williamsport High School Principal John) Davidson called me Monday and said, 'We've already hired Coach Rec for the coaching position because you didn't apply in time,'" said Martin.

"After the phone call, I wasn't a happy camper. I just wish the decision would have been mine. I feel like I'm getting shafted. It's like, 'Thanks for 13 years, here's the door.'"

Because Martin isn't employed by Washington County Public Schools, he is supposed to re-apply each year for the coaching position. When it became uncertain whether Martin, whose work schedule recently switched from nights to days, would be able to continue his head-coaching duties because of the change in hours, he encouraged Rechtorovic, who teaches at Antietam Academy (formerly the Alternative Learning Center), to also apply.

"Mr. Davidson said we should both apply," said Martin.

But, apparently, Rechtorovic applied and received the job before Martin even re-applied.

"I was just doing what everyone told me to do, and this is how it turned out. I am as dumbfounded as Chuck," said Rechtorovic. "He told me to apply. I thought he applied, too. He wanted to cover his bases because we didn't want anyone else applying."

However, Martin didn't seem to be in a huge rush, even though the position had been advertised since late March.

"They sent me a letter saying they were going to advertise for my position, but I didn't have a sense of urgency because they'd been inconsistent about advertising for this position," said Martin. "I really didn't know there was a deadline. I don't know if I've even applied in the last six or eight years.

"I guess I should have read things a little closer. But I just would have thought that Mr. Davidson at least could have called me beforehand and said, 'I'm having interviews and you haven't applied yet.'"

Davidson would not comment on the situation.

"Any time you're talking about an employee, it's a personnel matter," Davidson said, "and that's something I'm not going to discuss."

But the last word was most likely his.

"Under the MPSSAA guidelines, where we have emergency coaches, people outside the school, they are and can only be appointed by the board for a one-year assignment," said Yogi Martin, the county's athletic supervisor. "If a job is advertised, people apply for it and we just go through the process.

"But all these decisions are made at the school level, not at the central-office level. The principals do that at their schools."

No matter how it was all hashed out behind closed doors, Martin feels disrespected because he was left outside.

He said the original plan of the coaching staff (also including Mike Baker and Joe Burger), if Martin didn't return as head coach, was to have him come back as an assistant. But that idea is now in jeopardy.

"We all knew that our roles might change depending on my decision, but I wanted that decision to be mine," he said. "Now they may go from four coaches to one, because my coaches stand behind me and for what's right. And the program could suffer because of it.

"I just would have liked to have been given the opportunity to finish my coaching career at Williamsport under better terms than this. I felt I deserved it."




Andy Mason is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com.

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