Former NFL star running back Calvin Hill didn't start playing organized football until he reached the ninth grade. Since his development into a collegiate and professional star wasn't hindered by his late start, Hill didn't allow his son, Grant, to play football as a child.
Only Grant threw his father a curve. Grant Hill grew up playing soccer and when he grew taller than most of his playmates, his attentions turned to basketball.
"I thought at the appropriate time, Grant might play football, but I didn't feel because he was my son, he had to play," said Calvin Hill, now the Baltimore Orioles' vice-president of personnel administration. "No way was I going to push my son to follow me. It's tough enough pleasing yourself and your coach before you try to please your parents. Whatever he wanted to do was fine with me."
These days, Hill is very content sitting at the stands at South Lakes High School watching his son play basketball. A 6-foot-6 sophomore for the 5-1 Seahawks, Hill is averaging 21 points and 11 rebounds a game.
"Grant is the total athlete," said South Lakes Coach Wendall Byrd. "He has worked and improved on all facets of the game. It's nice to have a player like him for four years. He is a superb player considering he is only a sophomore."
Grant Hill said football was never one of his interests. A fine soccer player, he drifted into basketball because he started to get taller and was semi-successful in his early attempts at playing the game.
"I think my father thought I was too weak for football when I was little and I enjoyed playing soccer," he said. "When I was about 12, I just didn't have the taste for football. Soccer helped me on the basketball court and I really enjoy the game now. Anyway, my father tells me he used to be a great basketball player in New York and gives me a lot of advice. He coaches me from the stands."
The elder Hill said he was an all-city player in high school and was recruited by Lefty Driesell, who was then coaching at Davidson.
"I still love basketball. I react as a fan when I watch Grant play," Calvin Hill said. "It's hard being objective, but I think Grant is a pretty good player. He's involved at a higher pace the last couple of years, he has physical tools and is a heady player. I know the teams that win play smart; you don't have to know everything about the game to know that."
Chuck Monninger, who coached Mount Hebron's boys basketball team the previous 10 seasons, has stepped down to pursue other interests.
"Ten years was sufficient," said Monninger, who remains a physical education instructor at the Howard County school. "I thought it was time to do a few other things. I'm not completely ruling out coaching in the future, but right now it is time for a break."
Monninger's teams were 151-84, won five county and four region titles and one state title.
The D.C. Invitational in-door track and field boys and girls meet has been rescheduled for Jan. 22. More than 40 teams had been invited to the meet, originally scheduled for last Friday . . . Douglass, which won only three boys basketball games last season, is averaging more than 84 points per game and was 7-0 going into this week . . . Arundel Coach Bernie Walter has again been named head coach of the 1988 USA junior national baseball team.