A series of problems involving girls basketball programs in Fairfax County has coaches and adminstrators worried that disgruntled players and parents will increase attempts to remove coaches whenever they disagree with decisions about playing time and strategy.

One county coach, Traci Schneeweis of defending Virginia AAA champion Robinson, has been under suspension since Dec. 20 as a result of charges by several parents and players that she unfairly allocated playing time regardless of ability and discriminated against players whose parents were involved in original complaints against her.

Another coach, Chantilly's Lenore Callahan, is under investigation by the Fairfax school system's Department of Human Relations because of a complaint filed by the parents of Kim Lauderdale, who was suspended from the team in late December. Since then, three other players have quit the team, although Chantilly Principal Donald Schmalzried said only one of those situations was a carryover from Lauderdale's suspension. None of the other three contacted Human Relations.

Last week, meetings between administrators and parents failed to resolve problems between two Annandale players and long-time coach Laura Hagan, resulting in the players quitting. In early December, a problem at Lee High School apparently was resolved after meetings between Athletic Director Gloria Green, second-year coach Lori Barb and the parents of one player. That player remained on the team. Neither of the latter two cases resulted in formal complaints to Human Relations.

"I hope those two cases are over, but they are beginning like the other two and we are watching them closely," said Sally Todd, executive director of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers.

Todd, who represents Schneeweis and Callahan, said the cases have drawn the attention of county coaches in all sports. She said coaches are anxiously awaiting a decision on Schneeweis. A final report by Human Relations is expected next week.

"If she loses, it will definitely open the flood gates for more of these types of complaints," said Todd. "But even if they find for her, because of all the attention it has received, complaints are going to continue."

Bruce Patrick, supervisor of physical education in Fairfax County, says coaches are concerned about the extent outsiders can question decisions and strategies.

"I think a lot of it comes from youth league sports," said Patrick, "where parents have hired and fired coaches over the years and now their youngsters are getting into high school. Don't get me wrong, parents are the lifeblood of the system and we can't do it without them and the booster clubs. But they are used to getting away with things, and there are a lot of things at this level they just don't understand."

There is little doubt that in the Schneeweis matter, personality and coaching decisions are the crux. Both the coach (103-35 career record) and the parents who support her admit she has a demanding style. After the early stages of its investigation, Human Relations concluded she had not broken any rules, but continued to be curious about the number of complaints.

A number of parents say Schneeweis's style was not acceptable, even if it was within the written rules.

"The difference between this and Bobby Knight is that we are at two different levels," said Bonny Forst, whose daughter, Keri Webster, quit the Robinson team this season. "When you go to play for Bobby Knight, you choose him. You know what you are getting into. In high school, you have no choice whom you play for.

"She thinks she can run things because she wins, but she is a horrible role model."

Schneeweis has maintained playing time is why the complaints originated.

Callahan said "it would be inappropriate" to comment on her case.

However, one coach named in a recent case said simply being accused creates stress.

"I still think of myself of a good person," said the coach, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "But now I find myself having to prove myself as a good person to people I don't even know, even though I haven't done anything wrong. I walk into a room and people just stop what they are doing and stare. No one should have to go through this."

Two years ago, Human Relations investigated charges against West Springfield's Jim Warren, one of the most respected county boys coaches among his peers.

It was said Warren, now in his 28th season, favored his son, Jamie, currently a senior and one of the team's top players since he was a freshman. Warren was vindicated by Human Relations, but said the long investigation took a toll and he is considering making this his last season.

"What I went through I would not wish on my worst enemy," he said. "Anyone can say whatever they want about you. You lose sleep, and in the end, when they say you are not guilty of any of it, it still doesn't matter. And what it all comes down to is that some of these parents don't care whether we win or lose; they only care about whether their kid is playing."

Schmalzried and Olan Faulk, athletic director at Annandale, say they tried to mediate the problems at their schools, but found the cause more personality than substance. Faulk said the two Annandale girls were asked to stay on the team, but declined.

However, Margaret Lauderdale, Kim's mother, said the problem went further at Chantilly. "There have been things brewing with the team the whole season," she said. "They thought they could get rid of the problem by getting rid of Kim."

Schmalzried said Callahan is doing nothing different than she did last year when the Chargers finished 12-7, thanks mainly to a talented group of seniors. This year the team is 2-12 with mostly new players.

Green said the outcome of the Schneeweis case is of considerable interest to those in Fairfax athletics.

"You have a lot of 'coaches' out in the stands who want to run the program differently," she said. "If {Schneeweis} is not brought back, parents might say, 'This is the way to get rid of the coach.' "