LAKELAND -- Even with Hall of Fame coaching credentials, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely’s Melvin Randall, who led the Max Preps No. 12 Tigers (27-1) to its second consecutive Class 7A state boys’ basketball title on Saturday, said he was subjected to what he sees as the indignity of having to apply twice for his job last October.
Randall questioned the motives behind him having to apply twice and denounced the dismissal of his assistant coaches Reginald McNair and Morris Grooms during a drama-filled press conference following the Tigers’ 58-50 victory over Orlando Evans in the FHSAA Class 7A state championship game at the Lakeland Center.
The victory gave Randall his third state title with Ely and fifth overall.
“This title means a great deal,” Randall said. “Like I said, the thoughts that I went through. And I’m not trying to separate or put myself on a pedestal but to re-apply twice after coming off the season that we did, along with my previous accolades and to wait to be interviewed and to take away two of my top assistants in Maurice Grooms and Reginald McNair. It kind of hit home with that. Like I said, I have very tough skin.”
Randall said that the challenge that came with trying to defend a state title was compounded by the ensuing tension that developed after Ely Principal Karlton Johnson requested Randall apply twice and provide a resume.
Johnson sat next to Shaquille O’Neal courtside at the Lakeland center and handed out state championship medals to Ely players and coaches during the awards ceremony.
When contacted on Saturday night for a response, Johnson stated “No comment from me, man. Bye.”
Randall said he expects to return as Ely head coach next season but joked he “might have to apply three times.”
SANCTION TO COME
According to Florida High School Athletic Association spokesman Corey Sobers, Deerfield Beach will be fined for its boys’ basketball coach Kenny Brown skipping his team’s postgame press conference following Friday night’s state semifinal loss to Oviedo Hagerty.
Bucks assistant coach Jevon Glenn spoke to the media after the game, but neither Brown nor his players came out of the locker room. Head coaches are required by the FHSAA to speak to the media following state games. The Bucks lost at the buzzer 57-54 when Hagerty’s Luke Doyle hit a three-pointer as time expired.
Andre C. Fernandez
For at least one day, Broward County had the better collection of high school senior soccer players when matched against Miami-Dade County.
Eighty-eight male and female soccer players played in the first annual Dade-Broward High School All-Star Game at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.
In the girls’ match, Coral Glades’ Cidney Moscovitch scored two goals and Kayla Faulkner of Pembroke Pines Charter scored a goal and two assists for the Broward All-Stars as they defeated the Miami-Dade All-Stars 4-0. Broward outshot Miami-Dade 32-2 in the match.
Douglas High School’s Jason Fitzgerald scored a goal and had an assist for the Broward All-Stars as they defeated the Miami-Dade All-Stars 5-0 in the boys’ match.
Broward broke through in the 32nd minute when Taravella’s Esteban Ochoa found a streaking Fitzgerald in the box, and beat the goalkeeper to give Broward its first goal and it never looked back.