DeMatha football coach notches 300th career victory
By Chris McManes
DeMatha coach Bill McGregor joined exclusive company Oct. 14 when his team defeated McNamara. He is just the fourth coach in Maryland high school football history to win 300 games.
McGregor, in his 33rd year as the Stags’ head coach, entered the playoffs with a career record of 302-49-3 for an .857 winning percentage. He is quick to credit others for his enormous success.
“I can’t thank my assistant coaches, former players, present players enough — they did it all,” said McGregor, who was named 2004 NFL High School Football Coach of the Year.
McGregor has never had a losing season and has coached six undefeated teams. From 1997 to 2006, his record was 107-8-1 (.927). USA Today ranked his 1986 squad No. 6 in the nation.
More important than the victories, McGregor has helped over 375 former players get NCAA Division 1 scholarships.
“A lot of guys use football to continue their education and have gone on and done some wonderful things for themselves and their families,” he said. “That’s what really makes you most proud.”
More than 15 of McGregor’s players have attended the University of Maryland. Included among them are J.B. Brown, Kenny Tate, Josh Wilson and Ethan Gough. Elijah Brooks, another former player, is the Terrapins’ running backs coach and was recently inducted into the DeMatha Hall of Fame. Brown and Wilson enjoyed long NFL careers.
In his book, Terrapin Tales, former Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien, who led the Stags to an undefeated season in 1998, called McGregor “one of the best high school football coaches in the country.”
“Back then there was no social media, recruiting sites, or ways to promote yourself,” McBrien wrote. “Bill McGregor was a well-known and respected coach, and I knew that if I played for him, I was going to get looks from college coaches.”
McGregor came to DeMatha to teach and coach in 1972. He became head coach in 1982 and promptly led the Stags to the Washington Metropolitan Athletic Conference championship. It was DeMatha’s first league title since Morgan Wootten was at the helm in 1967.
When asked which of his victories stands out the most, he cited that 1982 championship game win over Gonzaga, 21-14. The contest, played at UMD, was tied at 14. With 13 seconds remaining, quarterback Erik Chapman found Joe Connolly for a 62-yard touchdown.
“In DeMatha folklore, we call it the ‘Immaculate Reception,’” McGregor recalled. “We had not won a championship in 15 years, so there was a pretty long drought. Our offensive line made some great blocks to give Erik enough time to throw the ball, and Joe made a spectacular catch.
“There are so many games you can go back and look at and say, ‘how did we do that?’” McGregor added. “We had some unbelievable games over the course of time with Carroll, St. John’s and Good Counsel.”
McGregor has guided DeMatha to 17 league championships. In addition to 1982, his teams won the WMAC in 1984, ’86, ’91 and ’92. The Stags captured the first three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles (1993-95) and again in 1998, 2000 and 2001. From 2003-08, they dominated the league with six consecutive crowns.
In The Washington Post’s annual football rankings, McGregor-led squads have finished No. 1 seven times. In 1999 and 2009, the publication named DeMatha the Program of the Decade.
From 2011-18, McGregor was an assistant coach at two Baltimore high schools. He returned to lead the Stags in 2019 and was named WCAC co-Coach of the Year. Since the formation of the conference in 1993, it was the 12th time he was recognized as the league’s top coach. The Post honored him as Coach of the Year in 2003.
Senior defensive end Jason Moore, who has committed to Ohio State, enjoyed being part of McGregor’s historic 300th victory.
“For all the things that he’s done for us, it was a great way to give back to him,” Moore said. “There are countless things he’s done for us that we’re so thankful for. It was definitely great to be here on this night.”
Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers sports for the College Park Here & Now.