Clarence Tennell was happy coaching the Northern High School girls' basketball team. But when Patriots boys' coach Rick Weber asked Tennell to consider being his replacement, Tennell had a tough choice to make.
Though the Patriots girls had improved each of the past two seasons under Tennell, he could not pass up a chance to put his stamp on the boys' program. So he accepted the job. Weber left after 13 seasons to start the program at Huntingtown High School.
"To follow behind him is a great opportunity because he's established a successful program, work ethic and expectations around here," Tennell said.
After going 8-15 in Tennell's first season, 2001-02, Northern's girls have gone 11-12 and 12-12 the past two seasons. Before that, he coached the girls' program at Northeast in Anne Arundel County for six seasons.
"We started to rebuild the girls' program, and we were going in a positive direction," Tennell said.
He said he was swayed to take the job after looking at what remained from Northern's boys' varsity roster.
Of the Patriots' 14 varsity players last season, Tennell said, 12 were seniors, and the remaining two -- juniors Justin Catlett and Tavon Reynolds -- transferred to Huntingtown. With a new roster, Tennell said, he could mold the boys' program without having to reconcile any lingering habits.
"You don't get that kind of an opportunity too often," Tennell said. "That was probably the biggest thing" that persuaded him to take the job.
Northern Athletic Director Trey Sirman said he hoped to have Tennell's replacement for the girls' program by the end of this week.
The Huntingtown-Chopticon football game that was postponed last Friday because of rain will be made up at 6 p.m. Oct. 18. The game will be played at Chopticon.
As a result, the dates of other games have been affected. Both teams will play their preceding games Oct. 14 -- Huntingtown will host La Plata, and Chopticon will visit Northern. Start times for both games will be 7 p.m.
Huntingtown's home game against McDonough has been pushed back a day to Oct. 23. Kickoff will remain at 7 p.m.
Also, Huntingtown will not hold any outdoor games or practices until Oct. 1 -- the Hurricanes' football team is scheduled to host Leonardtown that night -- as a track is installed around the football field.
Athletic Director Valerie Harrington said the school will attempt to schedule games at the opposing team's home field, although some might be played at Hallowing Point Park. Call the school's athletic department at 410-414-7036 for information.