Gregg takes another shot at 300

Severna Park coach tries to become first to earn 300 wins in boys soccer

September 17, 2002|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

After missing a home opportunity to become the metro area's first boys soccer coach to win 300 games, Severna Park's Don Gregg can reach the milestone tonight on the road.

Gregg's No. 7 Falcons (2-2) visit Annapolis (0-3) for a 7:15contest. Severna Park dropped two games in its own tournament on Friday and Saturday to leave Gregg at 299-108-13.

"It would have been nice," said Gregg, 59, who is in his 29th season at the Falcons' helm.

"We didn't play that well against Calvert Hall," said Gregg of a 2-0 loss to the No. 3 Cardinals. Of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to No. 5 Archbishop Spalding: "We played a pretty strong game, but we didn't capitalize on our opportunities."

Bill Stara of top-ranked River Hill is three wins from 300, which means the area will likely have its first two 300-game winners in the same season.

What does it mean?

"It means I've been around a long time," said Gregg, who has 26 consecutive winning seasons after starting off with back-to-back losing seasons in 1974 (5-7) and 1975 (4-7-1).

"I've missed nine games in 29 years, eight when I had the heart attack [in 1984] and the other when my mom passed away and I was at the viewing a couple years later. I never thought I would go this long.

"Look at it this way: I started in the '70s and it's been four decades. A lot of gray hair makes you feel old."

The coach credits his wife Barbara's support and his assistant coaches for his 29-year tenure. He rattled off their names starting with current assistants Jimmy Ensor and Bob Thomas, and before them: Sam Tanner, Bob Planey, Larry Allen and John Camm.

Gregg, who has won 13 regional and 14 Anne Arundel County titles, did not capture his first outright state title until last year -- in his ninth trip to a final.

In 1983, Gregg's team was a state co-champion with Bowie after a 1-1 double overtime in the Class AA (now 4A) final.

Frustration in the final continued for the Falcons through the '90s before last season's 1-0 victory over Dulaney in the 3A state championship. The season proved gratifying for Gregg, whose Falcons started the playoffs 8-5-1 and finished 13-5-1. Their playoff run included a 2-1 upset of Stara's River Hill in the 3A East semifinals.

Was that the highlight of his coaching career?

"Oh, there's been lots of highlights, but that was a relief to finally get over the hump," said Gregg, a six-time Anne Arundel Coach of the Year.

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