Last month, Derrick Washington got an e-mail from his old high school buddy Othell Wilson, just days after Wilson was named head coach of the St. Mary's College men's basketball team.
Wilson sent Washington a schedule of upcoming games and said he was glad to have made the leap from assistant to head coach of the small, liberal arts college in Southern Maryland. The former University of Virginia standout who later played in the National Basketball Association was eager to make a career in college coaching, Washington said.
Then Wilson was arrested late Monday and charged with kidnapping and raping a 20-year-old Fairfax County woman and holding her captive for nearly three days in his basement apartment in rural St. Inigoes.
"I can't fathom this happening," Washington, of Lorton, said yesterday in an interview. "He had just sent me the schedule. I don't think he would do something that would jeopardize this job."
Coatlen Othell Wilson, 37, who was charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, first-degree rape, first- and second-degree assault and first-degree sex offense, is being held without bond at the St. Mary's County Detention Center. His attorney, David Densford, of Leonardtown, did not return telephone calls for comment yesterday.
Wilson's mother, Estella, said she did not want to discuss her son other than to say that he had a 2 1/2-year relationship with the woman.
The mood was subdued yesterday at the state-supported college in the southern end of St. Mary's County. At the Department of Athletics and Recreation, the door with the nameplate "Othell Wilson" was firmly shut. His assistants referred calls to the college's public relations office, which provided little information.
School spokesman Betty Clayton said only that Wilson was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest and that the basketball team, which is to begin practice in mid-October, would be overseen by Shann Hart, coach of the women's basketball team.
According to charging documents filed in St. Mary's County District Court, Wilson became upset and angry after the woman broke off a relationship with him over Labor Day weekend.
Police said the woman agreed to see Wilson a final time last Friday because they had dinner plans with mutual friends that had been arranged before their breakup. When the woman got in his car, however, Wilson gave her a letter, according to the charging documents. Police said the letter stated: "Tonight is going to be a memorable night. One you will never forget." The charging documents allege that Wilson then drove the woman 80 miles to St. Inigoes, threatening her with a knife to keep her in the car.
"The victim has a phobia of blades and knives, and he was aware of that," St. Mary's Sheriff's Detective 1st Class Steven A. Hall said yesterday. "He said he had a knife in the back seat and he would use it if she tried to escape."
When they arrived at Wilson's remote apartment, according to the charging documents, Wilson assaulted the woman, continued to threaten her with a steak knife and raped her.
The woman did not fight back, police said she told them, because "she was sure she was going to die." Wilson allegedly detained the woman inside the apartment throughout the weekend, allegedly raping her again Sunday morning, according to the charging documents.
He then drove her back to her Fairfax apartment and released her, threatening to kill her family members if she told anyone of the assault, police said. But officials said the woman contacted authorities and was examined Sunday at Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Wilson, who goes by his middle name of Othell, was a star player on the basketball team at Gar-Field High School in Dale City, where he graduated in 1980.
Wilson was a point guard on the University of Virginia teams that made it to the Final Four in the 1981 and 1984 national collegiate championship tournaments. He later played professionally for the Sacramento Kings from 1984 to 1985 and the Golden State Warriors from 1986 to 1987.
Estella Wilson said her son later returned to the University of Virginia to complete his degree. A university spokesman said yesterday that he completed a bachelor of arts in psychology in January 1997.
Staff writers Josh White and Angie Watts, staff researcher Bobbye Pratt and special correspondent Steve Argeris contributed to this report.
CAPTION: Othell Wilson during a practice at U-Va. in 1984.