Michael McLeese, who turned the Dunbar girls basketball program around in two years, was named boys head coach at the Northwest Washington school this week. McLeese, 36, replaces Roy Westmore, who resigned last year.

McLeese is one of three new head coaches in the competitive Interhigh League this season, the most changes the league has undergone in more than 20 years.

The other changes are at Coolidge, where longtime assistant Leonard Farello replaced the late Frank Williams, who died of a brain tumor in June, and Spingarn.

Bobby Burrell was appointed head coach at Spingarn, replacing Kenny Howell, who was not re-assigned by principal Ann Thomas because of what she termed an unsatisfactory performance. Howell had replaced John Wood, who stepped down in 1985 following his 31-0 championship season. Howell has filed a grievance against Thomas and his case is under appeal.

Burrell, a sixth-grade teacher at Young Elementary School across the street from Spingarn, served 10 seasons as Wood's assistant.

The basketball coaching position is vacant at Eastern, where Herman Cannon resigned after being appointed a Fletcher-Johnson Intermediate School assistant principal. Cannon took over 12 years ago, when A.B. Williamson resigned to coach at Howard University.

Eastern principal Ralph Neal said he has not named a head coach yet.

McLeese, who has been coaching for only five years, said he realizes he is assuming control of one the area's most visible and successful boys' programs over the past dozen years.

"I really don't see this position as a pressure situation," said McLeese, who served as the coach at Lincoln Junior High for a year, an assistant boys' coach at Dunbar for a year and two years as girls' coach at Dunbar. "I know the tradition at Dunbar and my objective will be to maintain that level of excellence of the past. Of course, this will be an adjustment period for both the players and I.

"Hopefully, the transition will not result in any dropoff in performance," said McLeese, who teaches at Slowe Elementary School in Northeast Washington. "Just as I did with the girls {went from one victory to 15 and a third-place league finish in two seasons}, I plan to work on fundamentals and work on eliminating mistakes.

". . . I enjoy working with the young men and I will try my best to help them succeed in life."