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Walkersville High coach who hosted party reinstated

By Marge Neal

Friday - 9/4/2009, 7:24am  ET

Brad Young
Softball coach Brad Young, center, and his attorney, Dan Loftus, right, made public Thursday a decision made by Frederick County Public Schools Superintendent Linda Burgee in early August to reinstate him as the Walkersville High School varsity softball coach. At Young's side are his wife, Cheryl, and daughter, Rachel. (Frederick News-Post/Bill Green)
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Brad Young reached his goal Thursday -- the one he had from the beginning of an ordeal that began in July when officials told him he was relieved of his Walkersville High School coaching duties.

He has his job back.

Linda Burgee, Frederick County Public Schools superintendent, overturned the decision made by then-Walkersville High Principal David Kehne and Lynn Carr, athletic director for the school system. Her decision was announced at a news conference held Thursday afternoon at the Frederick office of lawyer Dan Loftus, who represented Young throughout the appeals process.

Young was told in July he would not be hired back as Walkersville 's varsity softball coach after he hosted a team party at his home in June. Adult guests brought beer to the party for their personal consumption.

A complaint was made about the alcohol at the party. School officials investigated and decided not to rehire Young for the 2010 season. He was also banned from reapplying for three years.

Young was officially rehired after interviewing Wednesday with Walkersville athletic director Mike Mummert, but some sanctions remain that neither Loftus nor Young would disclose, citing personnel confidentiality.

In an e-mail, Burgee said she was "curious as to why this is just now in the news. Mr. Young received my decision the first week of August."

Young said the sanctions were moot until he was rehired. Burgee lifted the three-year suspension, which paved the way for him to be interviewed for the position.

In his news conference remarks, Loftus said he was pleased Burgee overturned the decision, and he thanked her for exercising common sense.

Young choked up as he talked about the toll the ordeal has taken on his family. With tears in his eyes, he reached over and took the hand of his wife, Cheryl. He was also accompanied by his daughter Rachel, a player on his team.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say these past few months haven't been extremely difficult -- this is the part where I get emotional -- on my wife and family, and I'm glad that hopefully it's coming to an end," he said.

He said he was thrilled to be back coaching at Walkersville . He thanked the public for its outpouring of support, and said that more than 1,000 letters and e-mails were sent to Burgee on his behalf. An online group set up through the social networking website Facebook attracted more than 400 members in support of Young being reinstated.

The focus now turns to the 2010 softball season, Young said, and he plans to be on the field March 1 for the beginning of tryouts. He said his team is full of girls who are successful on and off the field.

"The goal for next season is to win a state championship, have the girls do well in school and represent themselves well," Young said.

Loftus said that, throughout his investigation, he learned of many other school and athletic events where alcohol was served or otherwise present.

He was disappointed that the policy he called broad and vague is in place, he said, and he hopes the school board will address that.

Young had hoped to get through the appeals process without an attorney, he said, but soon realized it was in his best interest to be represented. When he learned that school system attorney Jamie Cannon would attend his appeals meeting with Burgee, he felt compelled to get a lawyer.

Loftus said he offered his services to Young, a former student of his in graduate school.

"I'm doing this pro bono, because that's how much confidence I have in him," Loftus said before the news conference. "That's how much I believe in him."

Copyright 2009 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.