The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

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    Former coach exposes possible NCAA violations

    A mentoring program for young tennis players may have violated NCAA rules according to Athletic Director Dee Todd.

    Former interim tennis coach James Dunwoody said he has had members of his men’s and women’s tennis teams teach lessons year-round.

    Dunwoody said a mentoring program has existed under his guidance for the past four years.

    The men’s program was cut on July 12 after a fourth place finish in the MEAC. Dunwoody, retired Bellsouth Employee of 28 years, ended his six-year reign as men’s and women’s tennis coach on Aug. 21.

    The program, Dunwoody said, for youths four to 15 was held on Thursdays and Fridays. Dunwoody said some of the children are now playing in United States Tennis Association tournaments.

    “First of all we are talking about the ages,” said Todd about the ages 14 and 15. “There are two ages that would be in violation.”

    “We didn’t have any knowledge of it,” she said. “We don’t know when the NCAA has its traditional and non-traditional seasons. We need to know when it was occurring.”

    Todd – a former member of NCAA committees – said there are certain time periods when a coach and athletes can hold a camp or give lessons.

    The athletic department plans to investigate the matter. Todd said A&T is one of the few universities in the MEAC to self-report a violation.

    “We are responsible to report anything out of the norm,” said Associate Athletic Director Wheeler Brown. “Whether the coach is here or not, we will do our due diligence in terms of investigating and see what we can find out. And then we will make a decision to decide what the next step will be.”

    Todd and Brown said they were both unaware that the lessons were being held.

    “Some of the student athletes in their classes required for them to do some work in the community,” said Dunwoody. “And they used the community program as their voluntary program.”

    Dunwoody ?” a part-time tennis youth instructor for 12 years – said a session would run for 90 minutes and would be held on campus. In adverse weather conditions, the session would be moved to the Piedmont Tennis Center.

    “I thought the kids had been telling them about it,” said Dunwoody, who began his collegiate coaching career at Bennett College in 1999. “Personally it’s not a problem if they’re not aware of it. I am doing my thing to help the young people.”

    Dunwoody said he still uses the A&T tennis facilities to teach his lessons. He said he held one on Sept. 9 and a former men’s tennis player helped instruct.

    “He is not an employee of N.C. A&T and should not be using the facilities,” Todd said. “The university would be liable.”

    Dunwoody said that his committee will look for another site for the lessons. The committee is made up of five parents of the children. Todd said no coach can independently use the university’s facilities.

    “If he was doing it at some other court it may be different,” she said. “The fact is that he is using university facilities and he was supposed to be our coach.”

    Todd said a coach is evaluated on NCAA compliance and administrative policies.

    Andy Smith, a former Gardner Webb coach, was named as the new women’s coach on Sept. 11.

    Dunwoody’s career came with an end that he did not intend for. He said he has not received a paycheck for two months of work and applied for the women’s coach position, but was told by Brown that the university was going into a different direction.

    “The only issue that I have with N.C. A&T is my money,” Dunwoody said. “I know they selected someone else. I know the reason they said they were going into a different direction.”

    On August 15, Dunwoody said he went to the Dowdy Building to pick up his check. Dunwoody said that he contacted Brown and Hennie Chase Floyd, executive associate to the athletic director.

    Dunwoody said that Brown told him that the issue was in the hands of Todd.

    Todd said she was unaware that Dunwoody had not been paid.

    “We can’t speak on personnel matters,” said Brown. “He will be paid.”

    Dunwoody said he received $30,000 for coaching the men’s and women’s programs, without benefits.

    “(Dunwoody) still worked some of the summer for us,” Brown said. “Kind of held the program together in terms of correspondence and talking with parents, and finalizing the schedule for this year. Budget wise it wasn’t really an issue, because we went off of last year’s budget.

    Dunwoody said he used his personal money to help the teams on the road and to purchase uniforms.

    “We have always funded our student athletes with whatever they need,” Brown said. “Especially when it comes to travel and things of that nature. I don’t know why there is any need for money to come out of his pocket.”

    Plans came to an abrupt halt when Todd announced the termination of the tennis program.

    Quincy Howley had just finished up a season earning freshman of the year and was looked to take on the role that Damon Martin had. Damon Martin, a 2005 graduate, was considered by former coach James Dunwoody as the best player A&T has ever had and was selected MVP in MEAC for 2005.

    A&T cited financial issues for the reason of cutting the sport.

    “It is real sad,” said Damon Martin, who was the Aggies No. 1 singles player this year. “I was really looking forward to coming back and helping coach. As I got older, I was planning on donating money to the program.”

    Damon’s two brothers, Jared and Jeremy, were also on the team. Jeremy had the opportunity to transfer to Clemson, but decided to stay for his last two semesters. He is trying to find private donors to get the team reinstated. Todd said a private donor would have to contribute in the ball park of $200,000 to cover four years.

    “I don’t think there is anything they can do other than bringing a huge donor to a table that would be willing to fund it for the future,” said Todd.

    “The thing you don’t want is the students to use a year of eligibility by trying to keep a program for a year to pretty much help one or two students for a year,” she said. “You would want to see it through a whole class.”

    Dunwoody, 58, guided the Aggies from No. 11 in conference to No. 4 in 2006 during his reign of eight years as A&T’s coach. Damon Martin’s father Eric was a former player himself.

    “This was an extremely difficult decision,” said Todd. “No athletic director enjoys eliminating a sport.”

    Eric Martin said that Dunwoody used his own money to help the team. “Coach Dunwoody did a lot for the program,” Eric Martin said. “I think if they asked for additional support there would have been a lot of support.”

    Support was one thing that many members of the tennis team said they did not have. Dunwoody said Todd only showed up for 45 minutes at the conference meet in Raleigh.

    “I believe Todd only watched one game,” said Damon Martin. “I really don’t think the athletic department knew what they were doing. They really dug themselves into a hole.”

    Todd said that it is impossible for an athletic director to attend every sporting event and coaches need to tell her the schedules.

    “If they decide they don’t want tennis, that is their decision,” said Dunwoody. “I could cry about it, but I am a professional.”

    Shortly after the termination, Dunwoody contacted the players and informed them if they wanted a release he would talk to other coaches.

    • Darrick Ignasiak