McNamara fires girls' basketball head coach

By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 3, 2010; D6

Bishop McNamara dismissed Rod Hairston as girls' basketball coach Friday after one season and replaced him with Gary Lee, an assistant in the program last year.

Hairston, who coached the Mustangs to a 19-11 record last season after guiding Eleanor Roosevelt to five consecutive Maryland 4A public school titles, said that he was told Friday that the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference school was not renewing his contract. He said the reason cited was "lack of communication."

McNamara Athletic Director Tony Johnson could not immediately be reached for comment. Practice begins Nov. 8.

"I just appreciate the opportunity to come over and try to help the girls get better and for the opportunity to coach in the WCAC," Hairston said by telephone Saturday while cleaning out his office. "I think they just wanted to go in a different direction. There are no hard feelings. I think Tony Johnson was a great AD and I think Gary Lee is going to do an exceptional job."

Lee was a Johnson-appointed assistant on Hairston's inaugural staff a year ago, Hairston said.

Hairston, whose team went 14-4 in the WCAC, said he did not know if he would coach anywhere in any capacity this season.

"I've been doing it for 17 years," he said, "so maybe I might just take this season to rest my bones and get my thoughts" together.

McNamara returns All-Met guard Taylor Brown, a Georgetown commit who averaged 17.1 points last season.

Hairston's departure marks the second high-profile WCAC girls' basketball coaching change in recent weeks. Elizabeth Seton last month hired Jonathan Scruggs to replace Jazz Perazic. Perazic, who stepped down to pursue business interests, guided the Roadrunners to the WCAC and City Title championships last season.

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