Randall returns to Blanche Ely as coach



Blanche Ely five-time state champion boys’ basketball coach Melvin Randall was reinstated on Wednesday night under much less fanfare that followed his shocking dismissal in early June.

An ongoing feud with Ely principal Karlton Johnson resulted in Randall being relieved of his coaching duties.

Yet on Thursday afternoon, Randall said he has put any differences with Johnson and the Ely administration behind him and was ready to take on the challenge of helping the Tigers chase its third consecutive Class 7A state title.

“It is a relief for everyone,’’ Randall said. “The support from the community throughout this whole ordeal was tremendous. I look forward to working with administration, the faculty, the community and my staff. It will be another challenging season but we can get through it.

Randall was also informed that assistants Reginald McNair and Morris Grooms, who were released before the 2012-13 season, were allowed to rejoin his staff.

Randall’s Hall of Fame credentials is highlighted by a 458-136 career record, 226-79 at Ely and five state titles.

The decision to bring back Randallshould quell a passionate and loyal Tigers’ fan base who took to several Pompano Beach Town Hall meetings to voice their opinions.

The Tigers beat Orlando Evans for a wire-to-wire No. 1 ranking in Florida, school-best 27-2 record, No. 9 spot in the ESPN 25 Power rankings and its second invitation to the National High School Tournament.

But issues between Randall and Johnson were brought to the forefront at the FHSAA Class 7A state championship post-game press conference. Randall voiced his displeasure over having to apply more than once for the head coach position and what he felt was an unjust dismissal of McNair and Grooms.

However, it seems that cooler heads have prevailed resulting in Johnson and Randall having a face-to-face meeting on Wednesday in which Randall was reinstated.

“It was a very, very good meeting, “ Randall said. “Just clearing some things. We both agreed that we want to put this behind us and move forward. We want to work toward improving Blanche Ely academically and athletically.”

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