Officials of the D.C. Coaches Association yesterday expressed displeasure at Mayor Marion Barry's alleged lack of support for tonight's D.C. Coaches All-Star football game at 8 p.m. in RFK Stadium.
"I feel that Barry has definitely not helped us in putting on this all-star game, which is so important to these student-athletics," said Bob Headen, athletic director for the D.C. publicschools.
Headen, head football coach at H.D. Woodson, was chairman of a lunch held at the Marriott Twin Bridges Hotel, honoring the all-star players.
Barry was supposed to address the graduating seniors but according to his press aide, had to cancel his appearance to attend a three-hour meeting to prepare a special 200-page financial report.
"He canceled a press conference. He promised us his financial support and didn't deliver. And today he didn't show up for our luncheon. I realize that the mayor is a busy man, espcially with this financial report, but he could have taken five minutes to run in, talk to the guys, and then run back out," Headen said.
Headen and Frank Parks, the association's athletic director, said Barry had failed to contact them about asking the D.C. Armory Board to lower the $16,000 cost for the game, as they said the mayor had promised earlier. Barry is a member of the Armory Board.
"The mayor was disappointed that he couldn't make the banquet but the budget meeting clearly took priority over the coaches' banquet." said Barry's aide, Alan Grip. "I don't know anything about the mayor pledging financial support."
Dr. Joe Rumsey, president of the D.C. Recreation Department, whom the mayor asked to replace him at the luncheon was greeted by scattered boos when he began to address the athletes.
"I'm embarrassed that the District government was not able to contribute 5 cents to this tremendous program and game," says Rumsey.
Approximately $14,000 goes to the Armory Board for services, which include lighting, security workers and groundskeeping. Another $2,000 goes for insurance.
"I told the D.C. Coaches Association that they could save at least $2,000 by having this game in the afternoon," said Bob Sigholtz, general manager of the D.C. Armory.
The Armory Board had been cirticized for not sponsoring the game free of charge, but Sigholtz said that, as a self-supporting entity, "it would be illegal not to charge them for those services. We don't have a budget."
As a result of the high costs, the players had to solicit patron ads for tonight's game program.
Woodson High's Anthony Agnew, a member of the East team, solicited 57 $5 pledges and sold 43 tickets for the game. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound offensive tackle recently won National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete awards and has signed to play at Morehouse.