Paine coach full of regret

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Less than a month after being forced out at Paine College, golf coach Fred Summers finally broke his silence.

Summers, who hasn't spoken publicly since his team was denied a trip to the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in April, stated his disappointment in an exclusive interview with The Augusta Chronicle .

"I hate things had to turn out this way," he said. "It's disappointing I can't take Paine College to the next level."

Summers, who was instrumental in building the Division II program, was asked to resign by the college in May. After refusing, the school sent him a letter stating his contract would not be renewed. His last official day with Paine is June 30.

Summers' ouster came one month after he helped lead the school to its first Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament championship. The Lions planned to participate in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship -- an event they qualified for earlier in the year -- May 9-11. The day before their departure, school officials canceled the trip, citing lack of funds.

Fayetteville State won the Division II portion of the event with a 9-over-par 873 total.

"There was no doubt in my mind we would've beaten Fayetteville State or at least given Fayetteville State a run for their money," Summers said. "That was the most disappointing thing, not taking the kids down there to compete. They put themselves in position to win a national championship."

Less than two weeks after the tournament, Paine president Dr. George C. Bradley said in a news release the team used an ineligible player, but did not describe the violation. Summers never received an explanation why the school deemed freshman golfer Daniel Augustus ineligible after the team won the SIAC Tournament.

"I was surprised at the allegation and at the timing of it," said Summers, who added that's all he can say about the matter.

George Mategakis, the SIAC's director of championships, said the violation was not as severe as originally thought and that Paine would be allowed to keep the championship. Still, the school decided not to keep its golf coach.

Summers, who also was an assistant basketball coach at Paine, said he wants to continue coaching basketball and golf. And he'll continue to root for the Lions.

"I want to see the Paine College golf program succeed," he said. "That's something I've built from scratch. I'd love to see them win an SIAC Championship next year and then go down to the PGA Minority Championship and win that."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS


APRIL 23: Paine won its first conference championship, prevailing by 21 shots over Morehouse College.


MAY 8: The Lions were preparing to participate in the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla., when athletic director Ron Spry informed the team the school was not going to fund the trip.


MAY 12: Lee Elder, winner of four PGA Tour events and the first black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament, told The Augusta Chronicle that he was going to talk to Paine president Dr. George Bradley about Paine's absence.


MAY 24: Bradley makes a statement saying the Lions had an ineligible player at the SIAC Tournament. "After it was determined that we had an ineligible player who had participated in the tournament in Albany, our decision was to draw back."


MAY 30: After refusing a request to resign, Fred Summers was informed by the school his contract would not be renewed.

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sjgraci
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sjgraci 06/18/08 - 10:17 am
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Politics.

Politics.

cparker
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cparker 06/18/08 - 11:06 am
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I am disappointed in Dr.

I am disappointed in Dr. Bradley's decision. First, he should have considered the severity before making a public statement he couldn't take back. His public statements hurt more than they helped. Finally, Dr. Bradley cheated the young men that wanted to participate for the national championship. Even if Paine didn't have the resources to send the team, Dr. Bradley's influence could have been better served by soliciting funding to assist the golf team in acheiving its dream. I am not attacking Paine College, I just feel Dr. Bradley's decision making was not in the best interest of the team nor the school.

shivas
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shivas 06/18/08 - 11:26 am
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Listen, everyone knows what

Listen, everyone knows what happened. Dr. Bradley gets crucified for his poor decision, he tries to find someway to squirm-out, he finds a very minor technicality to after the fact justify his actions, then he makes the coach the culprit. The infraction with the player was so minor that even the conference director says it would have had no bearing. And that's the reason for firing this guy? Pitiful anbd gutless.

mdbrave
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mdbrave 06/18/08 - 05:21 pm
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Why isn't Spry making any

Why isn't Spry making any statements...shady......

spotted_assassin
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spotted_assassin 06/18/08 - 08:49 pm
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And we wonder why young

And we wonder why young blacks are overlooking HBCUs!
...and honestly, I can't blame them. I graduated from an HBCU, and there was always some shady business (financial or academic) going on there, as the same with many others.

golfboy1
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golfboy1 06/19/08 - 12:11 am
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I am no genius but when I

I am no genius but when I played college golf at Newberry, we had to get cleared by the AD and the Compliance officer. Why have we not heard from either of them. I know this may sound stupid but does Paine even have a compliance officer and what was his role. I know I am late on this but congrat's to those young men who worked so hard. Those morons need to be fired for that decision, hell I would have donated money for that cause. Go Newberry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

joebowles
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joebowles 06/19/08 - 10:23 am
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Golfboy1, I recruited the

Golfboy1,
I recruited the first players to Paine and one left after the first year and transferred to Newberry. That was three years ago and he just graduated.
I am having a tournament in Augusta at the "Patch" to raise funds for the golf team at Paine. More info will be upcoming.
Lets try to turn this nightmare into something positive for the golfers at Paine.

joebowles
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joebowles 06/19/08 - 10:23 am
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Sorry, the tournament while

Sorry, the tournament while in Augusta will be in August.

golfboy1
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golfboy1 06/19/08 - 10:49 am
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I will certainly make sure I

I will certainly make sure I lend my support. I had the chance to meet the coach at our tournament 2 years ago. He was following his 4th guy and we chatted about school and other things not related to golf. He seemed to me to be a good guy and I thought he was a really good guy. They supported our tournament for the two years I played there. I know the young man you are refering too.

CoastalDawg
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CoastalDawg 06/19/08 - 11:25 am
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If you're looking for a

If you're looking for a problem HBCU, look no further than Savannah State University. Their athletic program stays in turmoil, hiring and firing coach after coach particularly in football and baseball. A few years ago their baseball coach took the team to a new record of wins in baseball, a white coach who is also an alumnus of the school. Even after all that, the powers that be got him fired over allegations which to this day might remain unproven. SSU has also had a turnover in presidents and staff - continuity is important in anything, particularly in the field of education but that fact seems to remain elusive. Paine College, like SSU, has been around for a number of years, Paine being formed in 1882 and SSU in 1890. By now either school should "have it together" and should not be mired in controversy and conflict. Students, whether athletes or not, should be able to attend and gain degrees and learn about life without having to worry if some "error" by an official somewhere in time might affect all their work in a negative fashion. If an official in ANY learning institution cannot successfully fulfill the job, he/she should step aside and make way for someone who can

Reality
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Reality 06/19/08 - 11:39 am
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I didn't even know there was

I didn't even know there was such a tournament,(PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship) sounds a bit racist to me....

golfboy1
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golfboy1 06/19/08 - 01:03 pm
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Coastal, I agree, those young

Coastal, I agree, those young men must have worked very hard and the coach must have done a great job recruiting because the teams I saw were okay but they weren't good as the guys whose scores I was looking at. I also read that they were picked as one of the favorites to win it. The administration there must not be that familiar with golf and African American participants. I must say that in our tournament they were the only black team there and they posted some okay scores. Just looking at the scores from back then to the scores they posted in the past was a dramatic jump so with that said, they did a great job in getting good personnel.

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