Teamwork takes Moorhead to top Success on, off field: The coach of the top-ranked St. Mary's boys lacrosse team is in his second year as president of the Annapolis school.

March 31, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Yes, academics and athletics do complement each other, and the little Catholic school on Duke of Gloucester Street in Annapolis supports that claim.

St. Mary's, with an enrollment of 560, represents the values of blending what happens in the classroom with the lessons learned on the athletic field. It's the goal of the school to be highly competitive in both areas and few do it better.

It all starts at the top.

James Moorhead is in his second year as president of St. Mary's and his 17th as the Saints' successful (180-67, .729 including this year's 3-0 start) boys lacrosse coach, a real rarity. Usually, those who climb the ladder into administrative positions don't have time to coach.

Moorhead finds the time because he feels it's important to the St. Mary's environment that is steeped in teamwork.

"I think it's good to be involved in something [athletics or extracurricular] outside of school, to be seen in that domain as a coach," said Moorhead, who was recently inducted into the St. Mary's Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I still love the coaching part of working with kids. It's very rewarding."

It's no mistake that, like most successful coaches, Moorhead has surrounded himself with quality assistants on the lacrosse field and likewise administratively.

The Moorhead coaching staff includes the school's assistant principal, Rob White; Annapolis High administrator Mike Codd; and faculty members Jamie McNealey and Mike Burnett, both alumni.

In the main office there is Sister Phyllis McNally as principal, White as assistant principal, Carmine Blades as athletic director of the girls program and head football coach Brad Best as the boys athletic director.

"We like to say that we coach and administer," said Sister Phyllis, who has spent 11 years at the school, the past eight as principal.

"We have an excellent team running the school. Everybody works together and for each other and most of all our students. The Moorhead-McNally duo is tough to beat, but seriously, Jim is surrounded by extremely capable support personnel."

In recent years, some 40 percent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore have gone to appointing presidents to run their schools. The position is comparable to headmaster at some private schools.

The main purpose of Moorhead's job as president is to work closely with the development office, the public relations department and in fund raising.

Moorhead's lacrosse program has managed to keep St. Mary's in the spotlight for a long time. St. Mary's, ranked No. 1 by The Sun, is one of the elite high school programs in the country.

After playing on Johns Hopkins' 1974 national championship team and later earning All-American honors, Moorhead, a graduate of Towson High in Baltimore County, began his coaching career at Wroxeter (closed in 1979) in 1978, going 7-5.

Moorhead came to St. Mary's the next year as an American history teacher and assistant coach to Ken Winegrad.

The 1979 St. Mary's team was 13-1 and ranked No. 1.

Winegrad left to become an assistant at the University of Delaware and Moorhead was elevated to head coach. He was an instant success.

St. Mary's was 14-0 in Moorhead's rookie season and 41-3 in his first three years. His top player was attackman Brian Wood, who would set a county record for career points (302 on 154 goals, 148 assists) and was later named county Player of the Year twice and the Arundel Sun Boys Lacrosse Player of the Decade for the 1980s.

Tom McClelland, an All-Metro goalie in 1984, was named the Goalie of the 1980s. Wood and McClelland were just two of 10 Saints named All-Decade and among scores of Moorhead proteges who went on to become college All-Americans.

Under Moorhead, the Saints have been ranked No. 1 in The Sun's final poll four times (1980, '81, '82 and '93) and finished in the Top 10 for 16 straight years.

St. Mary's won the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association in 1993 and finished as a finalist in 1991 and 1994.

Against county public schools and other nonleague foes, the Saints have gone 87-0 in the Moorhead era, including three this season by a combined 35-5 score.

Defending 3A-4A state champion Arundel is among the three non-MIAA victims thus far and the Saints' first league game was a 13-8 victory (Tuesday) over two-time defending champion Gilman. They beat an undermanned McDonogh team, 23-2, Friday.

The lacrosse achievements aside, Moorhead and the Saints also can take a bow academically. Some 90 percent of Moorhead's players have gone on to college.

The president/coach gets results.

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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