Hopkins football coach sets the right example

November 23, 2011

As a proud Johns Hopkins University alumna with a lifelong love of sports, reading Kevin Cowherd's piece ("Hopkins stays grounded as it soars," November 19) about the Hopkins football program was a real pleasure. Coaching is a demanding profession, and at times those who choose it do not set a perfect example for his or her players. When a coach falls short, especially in a very visible program, the negative publicity seems endless. The recent case at Penn State is a glaring example.

Therefore, this article where Mr. Cowherd shines a light on a coach doing such good work deserves our attention and praise. The quotes from Coach Jim Margraff illustrate his priorities, leadership skills and ability to effectively guide the college careers of the student athletes in his program.

I smiled at the references to Hopkins students being "nerds" or "geeks" because it brought back many memories. My JHU degree is in Mathematical Sciences. This was atypical in the mid-1970's, especially for a woman. Yet it was extremely valuable and marketable when I was hired by IBM my senior year.

Then I wept at the quote, "You try being a surgeon and operating on a child while his parents are in the next room. That's pressure. This is football." What a wonderful perspective to offer these players! As a mother, I have been that parent during multiple life threatening surgeries for one of my children. Yes, many of those successful operations have been performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The pride I have for my alma mater has always been strong, and this article gives me another reason to appreciate my remarkable university. Today I send my thanks to Mr. Cowherd and Coach Margraff for providing this important reminder as we look toward Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Barbara Barrett Neale

The writer is a 1977 graduate of The Johns Hopkins University.

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