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Original Issue


After five successful seasons as a community college coach and
seven as an assistant at Arizona State, Colorado State and Montana
State, Rob Chavez seemed a logical choice when he was named coach at
Maryland Eastern Shore last June. Except for one thing: Chavez is
white and Eastern Shore is a historically black school. Not only is
Chavez the Hawks' first white coach, but he also is the first white
basketball coach ever in the Mid-Eastern * Athletic Conference.
But those facts were quickly overshadowed by Eastern Shore's
turnaround. The Hawks, 7-7 at week's end, have already improved on
last season's 3-25 finish, the latest in a long line of lean years
that includes only one winning season in the last 18. The players
didn't discover that Chavez was white until the middle of last
summer. ''It surprised everyone,'' says senior forward Marlin
Kimbrew, last season's leading scorer.
Not that many people were around to surprise. When Chavez arrived,
only one player was eligible and no recruits were enrolling. So over
the summer Chavez helped some of the ineligible players get their
grades in order and signed several junior college players. ''I didn't
want to get trapped in the past,'' says Chavez, who had a 136-24
record at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Ore., before moving
to Eastern Shore. ''If you get trapped, it's pretty hard to get
That was apparently athletic director Hallie Gregory's thinking
when she hired Chavez. ''The kids wanted someone to come in and get
the job done,'' Gregory says. ''It has nothing to do with the color
of a person's skin.''