City Desk

Is Michelle Rhee Using Natalie Randolph to Make It Look Like She Cares About Girls in Sports?

082210COV-bigFor the justifiably overappreciated print version of Washington City Paper, I wrote this week about how Natalie Randolph, the new Coolidge coach and Parade cover girl, is being used to cover up serious gender inequities within the athletic programs offered by D.C. Public Schools under Michelle Rhee. Pick up a copy, read the column, gaze in glee at the absent-no-longer Showtimes section, please don't eat the daisies.

Let other folks repeat the feel-good portions of the Natalie Randolph story. There's a whole lot about the hiring of America's only woman football coach that's suspect.

On paper, Randolph is laughably underqualified to take over a DCIAA program, where the football programs routinely crank out NCAA scholarship athletes. Her football coaching experience amounted to two years as a receivers coach at H.D. Woodson high school, and she didn't coach football at all last year, according to the version she's been telling the press for months. But don't blame her for being hired: She wasn't even looking to become a coach when she was recruited for the top job at Coolidge, she told Parade. Randolph's hiring was handled by some outsider funky education reform group called the Friends of Bedford, which now runs the long-troubled Coolidge, located in Takoma.

Since being handed the job, Randolph and her players have been followed around by an ESPN crew. According to the Parade story, one of many national profiles of Randolph that's run recently, she and her players made a trip to the NFL Draft in New York a few months ago.

Color me cynical, but: Really? Aren't there more pressing needs at Coolidge where that sort of money could have been spent. If footage of that New York excursion shows up on ESPN, an investigation of the whole shebang is in order. The entire Randolph saga so far stinks of a publicity stunt, like a real-life remaking of "Wildcats," the Goldie Hawn feature film where a petite pretty woman takes over an inner city football program.

But the stinkiest thing about the Randolph hiring is that all the attention it's generating masks some incredibly serious problems with the athletic programs at Coolidge, specifically, and throughout Rhee's DCPS. Randolph or no, female students at the school and all over this city have criminally few athletic opportunities compared to girls at D.C.'s private schools or public schools in surrounding jurisdictions. If it weren't for volleyball, in fact, at Coolidge the girls would have just about no athletic opportunities this fall. Randolph, who grew up in the area, went to a private high school a couple miles south of Coolidge when she was a kid. That school has varsity and JV soccer teams, field hockey teams, lacrosse teams, and cross country teams for girls. Coolidge has none of those.

But, Coolidge has a woman football coach. So all's square, right, Michelle Rhee?

(And, sorry, DCPS, cheerleading IS NOT a sport in the eyes of the law.)

The reality show that is Randolph's Coolidge experience makes its national television debut tonight, as ESPN broadcasts the season opening game with Carroll. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Coolidge.

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Comments

  1. #1

    I am definitely cheering for Randolph, especially because of her quote spot-on quotes like: "I do think I care more about academics than most coaches. Some kids play with Ds, but when they leave school, they don't go anywhere because they're unprepared. It's not fair. A kid busts his butt on the field, and you don't take care of him after that?"

    HOWEVER, it is hard not to remain skeptical of the Friends of Bedford and the Rhee/Fenty machine when the same Parade article also features the following:

    "Randolph did not seek out the head-coach job at Coolidge; the principal had to ask her to apply. Initially reluctant, she did--and left her competitors, including two former NFL players and a retired Army brigadier general, in the dust. "All the other candidates were selling themselves, and Natalie was the only one who talked about the students and what she'd do for them," recalls Derrick Mickels, a member of the hiring committee and a nonprofit education consultant who helps run Coolidge."

    Fingers crossed that Randolph is the real deal, that she was in fact more serious about grades than other applicants, and that Mickels, Fenty et al did not simply want to throw some smoke ahead of the mayoral primary in a pathetic effort to pretend that the dysfunctional DCIAA is some kind of glowing model for the rest of the country.

    Still, it's about time we had women coaching men given the all too common cases of vice-versa.

  2. #2

    P.S. Seriously, TWO former NFL players actually want to coach DCIAA football and we didn't hire them? Who are they? What was wrong with them? ... Please, please tell us that they are coaching at another DCPS school.

  3. #3

    Team sports in DCPS is a travesty. Hardly any sports are offered. The other problem is that some football schools use the liberal out of boundary policies to openly recruit the best players while schools that do offer sports open them up to all schools that don't have ANY, so Wilson's crew team may have Walls, Banneker, etc. Which while it's good that the kids have a place to play, kind of dilutes why a kid may choose a school. And what about the kids that don't have the ability to take classes at one school and then high tail it across town to another? They are SOL. Wilson is the ONLY comprehensive high school in the District with a full complement of sports teams offered. Which is a big reason why my son, now a 9th grader at Wilson choose it. He plays soccer and lacrosse and swims. It's probably why my girls will choose it in a few years-they play lacrosse, swim and are intrigued by volleyball and field hockey. So...tell me where else they can go? I want to know why sports hasn't been embraced as a legitimate tool by DCPS to 1. keep kids in school and 2. pay for college. It's a major missed opportunity, and a shame for kids who have potential. Grr.

  4. #4

    You damn skippy DCPS athletics is a travesty, anytime you allow a FEMALE to coach young men in what is the most physically challenging, spirit breaking and requires a certain FORTITUDE/STRATEGIC approach not usually found in women!!

    I would NEVER allow my son to be coached in football by a woman and only in his cesspool of a city will you see this typ'a bullshit, a town where women challenge men at every walk and turn, a city where a woman's accusation is bible and enforced by law, a city where child support should be reevaluated and likened to an unregulated ATM MACHINE, a city where boys wanna be girls and vice versa....what message are WE really sending young men when 1 of the most grueling sports known to man you are LEAD BY A WOMAN....GTFOH!

    WRONG, WRONG, SO WRONG on sooooo may levels and that's why that ass got whooped 28-0 tonight by Carroll and there will be more where that came from!

    PATHETIC, her ass should be in the kitchen frying chicken for the team trip!

  5. #5

    ...her ass should be in the kitchen frying chicken for the team trip!
    Now that's PATHETIC for you.

  6. #6

    DCIAA has had leadership problems for years. I have seen a parade of Directors and nothing improves.
    This past year was pathetic. Several times the transportation failed and other times fields wer locked at practice and kids had to wait. Despite the fact that not enough sports are offered, what is offered is poorly run.
    This is an area in DCPS where hasn't been any improvement at all.

  7. #7

    @sedcdude-YOU KNOW I FUCKS WITH YOU ON SO MANY LEVELS BUT I HAVE TO CUT YOU OFF ON THIS ONE BROTHER. IT'S DEEPER THAN THAT SHIT YOU TALKING ABOUT!

    THAT ASS GOT SPANKED BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT FUNDAMENTALY SOUND BECAUSE PENALTIES KILLED THEM! THEY BANGED CARROLL OUT ON THE FIRST DRIVE, DROVE THE BALL DOWN TO THE FOUR YARD LINE AND COULD NOT PUNCH IT IN FROM THERE. THEY LOST THEIR COMPOSURE BECAUSE OF ALL THE HOOP-LAA SURROUNDING HER HIRE. FUCKING ESPN WAS FOLLOWING AND SMOTHERING HER EVERYWHERE TO THE POINT WHERE SHE COULDNT EVEN COACH EVEN IF SHE WANTED TO! I FEEL BAD FOR HER BECAUSE SHE PLAYED THE GAME AND KNOW WHAT IT’S ABOUT.

    AS A YOUTH FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL COACH I SAW THE DISCREPANCIES AND WONDERED WHY SHE WAS EVEN PUT IN THIS POSITION? SHE WAS TAUGHT BY AND HAD A VETERAN OF DC INTERHIGH SPORTS ON HER STAFF BUT STILL FAILED TO HANDLE HER BIZNASS! UMMM?

    I HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU ON THE "ATHLETICS IS A TRAVESTY" TIP. WHILE CARROLL CHEERLEARDERS WAS THERE IN FULL REGALIA AND ON POINT, COOLIDGE CHEERLEADERS WAS NOT EVEN ALLOWED ON THE FIELD BECAUSE OF SOME "PAPERWORK ISSUE". DO THE DCIAA FUCKING KNOW CHEERLEADING IS A SCHOLARSHIP ACTIVITY IN D-1 SCHOOLS? THEY GIVE MONEY TO BE A CHEERLEADER FOLKS! UNIV OF MD. HAVE ONE THE BEST TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY. WTF!!!

    RHEE IS SOME SHIT. SHE IS SO BUSY CATERING TO WHITE FOLKS THAT WOMEN ATHLETICS, AMONG OTHER THINGS, HAVE FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE DATA I WOULD BE WILLING TO BET THAT DCPS CHILDREN GET MORE ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS THAN ACADEMIC SO WHY ARENT WE PROMOTING THIS?

    I DONT KNOW ABOUT COACH RANDOLPH CHICKEN FRYING SKILLS
    BUT HER HEAD COACHING SKILLS ARE A C- AT BEST FOR A FIRST YEAR HEAD COACH ON ANY LEVEL. HER ASST'S LET HET DOWN BIG TIME ESPECIALLY THE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH. I HOPE SHE TAKES MORE CONTROL OF THE FOOTBALL ASPECT OF HER SQUAD AND GET HER MOB IN CHECK. I ALSO HOPE SHE FIND A QB.

    WHILE SHE IS AT IT SHE NEEDS TO CHECK THE STRONGEST MUSCLE IN THE HUMAN BODY OF HER PLAYERS AND AS A FORMER PLAYER SHE KNOWS WHAT THE FUCK IM TALKING ABOUT!

  8. Winston Churchill
    #8

    ayy dwntwn rez, your kind wrote this bit piecs and it's TRUE!

    RANTED AND RAVED ON CRAIGSLIST.....

    men after marriage -women being manly (RESTON, VA)
    Date: 2010-08-27, 6:54PM
    Reply To This Post

    Yeah, women around here tend to portray themselves as successful by being like men. I am 45, single and I signed up for match.com at first I thought there was somethign wrong because many of my "matches" and the women who wrote me were men dressed in drag. Then I found out they are actually women.

    Look at how many women brag about riding a harley, being a big sports nut, golfing, fishing. enjoying a good cigar, Not really what I had thought was feminine.

    Yeah men are becoming more feminine(metrosexuals) and women more masculine.. a sickening loss of contrast in the world. Makes life much less tasty

  9. #9

    NOODLEZ, feelings mutual but nothing is deeper than false representation, role reversal, gender warfare, incompetence and more importantly BLACK MALE EMASCULATION.....bottom line and across the board homey!

  10. #10

    I FEEL YA BUT I DONT THINK COACH RANDOLPH SHOULD BE VILIFIED OR MADE THE POSTER CHILD OF COMMENT #8 ESPECIALLY HERE ON WCP.

    MY MOTHER WAS MY MOM AND DAD! TRUTH BE TOLD MY MOM CAN SCRAP WITH THE BEST OF 'EM. SHE WAS ALL LADY (CROSSED HER LEGS WHEN SHE SAT DOWN AND SMOKED VIRGINIA SLIMS) BUT IF YOU CROSSED HER OR BOUGHT THREATS TO THE FAM SHE WOULD KNOCK A NIGGA OUT (SEENT IT)! SHE HAD 8 BROTHERS SO SHE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO BE TOUGH.

    THE POINT IM TRYIN TO MAKE IS THAT I WOULD TAKE A STRONG SISTA TO LEAD BROTHERS ANYTIME THAN SOMEONE FROM A DIFFERENT BACKGROUND!

  11. #11

    Please, please tell me that "sedcdude" and "noodlez" are satirical characters...

    @ "concerned" -- Sadly, everything you write is true, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I will never forget the time that Wilson tried to charge me to have School Without Walls (another DCPS school which does not have a field) practice on the turf at Wilson. They responded similarly when we set up a DCPS All-Star soccer game and filled the grounds with college coaches, several of whom ended up signing previously unrecruited student-athletes. We moved the game to GWU as a result.

  12. #12

    Ayy NODDLEZ, can you smell that......DAN, bullshit EARLY!!
    By the way DAN, I thought phrenology was outlawed you crooked skulled limpwrist!

    NOODLEZ, I don't have a problem with strong women, my mom was a straight soldier as well, 9 brothers and sisters total, but my father was a MAN!

    Now, the problem here is that....take this point into consideration, FENTY'S administration has been the poster child for blatant, unethical decision making and leadership; from Rhee, contractual awards, all the way to Lanier, Rubin, recs n parks, public schools and ultimately this issue here!

    Ironically, the individual who hired Randolph is the same genuise who allowed a 19 year old "LATINO" senior to play a 5th year of HIGH SCHOOL B-BALL last year so that HE could get more college exposure and at the bequest of an influential LATINO interest! WOW! He is the same spineless flunky who came from parks and rec with nothing more than being a FLUNKY heading up his resume and going with the FLOW!

    This is the byproduct of MEN not doing MEN thangs you dig!!

    My point is this, her being allowed to coach is just another "specimen" in the petri dish of TEST TUBE politicking and policy making in DC......

    STAND for something or be forcefed ANYTHING!

  13. #13

    Why are some folks here blaming her for some men's short comings, maybe some men should stop acting like bitc----s and man-up.

  14. #14

    Women should give their skills to women not men. Look at all the girls she is forgetting about. Women need to stay in women sports to uplift the women that need them. Leave men to men sports.

  15. #15

    Malvin, if women should give their skills to women and men should tend to men, should every male coach who coaches women at every level be fired? Being a good football coach (or basketball coach or volleyball coach or gymnastic) coach has little to do with gender, and everything to do with dedication, drive, desire, skill and ability.

  16. #16

    What happened to that team and coach (Dunbar??) that walked off the fielkd after claiming racist comments from a mostly white team (Cumberland??)?

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