By: Melissa Boyd & Tristian Burris (Whetstone writers)
Larry Feldman, who for more than a decade has volunteered for the Wesley football team, was arrested Feb. 13 for mailing four pounds of marijuana to himself, from California to his Dover home, Delaware state police said.
In addition to being charged with possessing a controlled substance in a high quantity, Feldman, 63, also was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, including a marijuana pipe, rolling papers and a digital scale.
Police said Feldman had mailed the package via Fed-Ex to himself, prompting the involvement of the Tracy, Calif., police department, Delaware state police and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Delaware state police said they forcibly entered Feldman’s home when no one answered the door.
Mike Drass, the head football coach for Wesley and the athletic director, said he was contacted by police after the arrest.
“It doesn’t really affect our team because he wasn’t a coach,” he said. “He was a volunteer and his job was to keep the schedule during practice, telling me when to switch from individual to group practice, based on the schedule he knew I wanted to keep. When it got dark, he was also in charge of turning the lights on.”
Drass said they won’t find anyone to replace him and that he doesn’t think the arrest defines Feldman.
“He was a winner of two purple hearts in Vietnam,” he said. Feldman was in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. “He had a lot of health issues in the past three or four years, too.”
President William Johnston said that Drass contacted him about the arrest after Drass had found out.
“For anyone, I really depend on the supervisor in that area, along with the Human Resources Office to then determine the best course of action,” he said. “As an institution, our obligation is to creating the best environment for our students, in which they can learn and develop. We do need all people who represent the institution to live up to our standards.”
Senior Jacquelle Boone said that, as long as he wasn’t going to the school high or affecting the players, she didn’t care.
“He’s not affecting me graduating and getting my diploma, or any other student for that matter,” she said. “Maybe he needs it for a medical condition.”
Senior Erich Gillespie said the arrest doesn’t affect his views on Feldman.
“Feldman is a man who has taught me so much more than football over the years,” he said. “A United States hero, leader, and inspirational man whose legacy will be tainted, due to laws and regulations that probably won’t exist a few years from now. Everyone who has had a relationship with Coach knows the amazing man behind this unfortunate incident.”
Defensive End Felix Ortiz agreed.
“I thought he was a good man and motivator, especially as a veteran that served our country,” he said. “I was surprised by the news and hope there is more to it than the surface.”
Johnston said there are moral, ethical, college and legal standards that staff and faculty should follow.
“Our dedication has to be to the students,” he said. “We have to provide the best environment for them.”
Johnston also said that the college hasn’t had many problems with volunteers, staff or faculty breaking the standards.
“Generally, our faculty and staff are tremendous representatives for our students,” he said. “But if we find that a person can no longer represent the college in a manner that is appropriate, then the college has to take actions.”
Jessica Cook, the director of marketing, made the college’s official announcement regarding Feldman.
“Larry Feldman’s association with the Wesley College athletic department has always been on a volunteer basis,” she wrote. “Mr. Feldman has never been employed by Wesley College and his volunteer status was primarily during football season.”
Feldman has been released on a $5,500 secured bail.