Linda Kilpatrick, Mike Mohler, DeToiya McAliley poised to reach coaching milestones

January 27, 2014|By Katherine Dunn | The Baltimore Sun

Many high school coaches never even reach 100 wins, but three local girls basketball coaches are approaching much bigger career milestones that end in "00," and all have a chance to reach them this week.

Southern's Linda Kilpatrick, who has more wins than any other active girls basketball coach in the area, needs two wins for her 500th victory. Catonsville's Mike Mohler needs one to hit 400, and Milford Mill's DeToiya McAliley needs one to reach 200.

All three grew up in the neighborhoods in which they now coach, and Kilpatrick and McAliley played basketball for and graduated from the schools where they now coach. Mohler graduated from Mount St. Joseph.

Kilpatrick, whose record is 498-378 in 38 seasons at Southern of Harwood, coached the Bulldogs to five state championships and has taken them to the state tournament 13 times.

"I think the thing I'm proudest of, is in every decade that I've coached, we've gone to the final four," Kilpatrick said, "so I'm the proudest of consistency. And you have to play the hand you're dealt. I'm not St. Mary's, I'm not any of the private schools, where I can entice players to come here."

On the all-time Baltimore-area girls basketball coaching list, Kilpatrick trails only Lin James, who retired last season after 48 years at North Harford with 608 wins.

When Kilpatrick was in high school, Anne Arundel County didn't have girls interscholastic athletics. The girls competed in intramural-type events in which they played round-robin tournaments against every school in the county on a Saturday. She played volleyball, basketball and softball.

She went on to play at Anne Arundel Community College in a similar system and then played basketball at Maryland and did shot put for the Terps track team. But all of that was before Title IX was implemented, providing equal opportunity for girls to play sports.

At Southern, she has had some of Anne Arundel County's most successful programs, also winning three state titles in girls lacrosse. Kilpatrick has been inducted into the Anne Arundel County Hall of Fame and the Anne Arundel Community College Hall of Fame.

Kilpatrick coaches only basketball now, and approaching the 500-win milestone, she is guiding a young 6-10 team whose goal for the second half of the season has been to beat a team they're "not supposed to." The Bulldogs did that Friday night with a 60-42 win over Broadneck, a team they lost to in December.

The Bulldogs' next two games are at home. On Wednesday, they face Chesapeake (1-12) for the first time this season, and Friday, they host Arundel (7-7) whom they fell to 62-55 in December.

"I kind of feel like if you stay around long enough, your numbers are going to go up," Kilpatrick said with a laugh. "and you just keep rolling with the numbers and see how it goes. I really don't think about it. It's no big deal. There's so many other things that mean so much more to me in basketball than the number of wins. I'm just glad I'm still here to get some more, and if I keep coaching, I'll stay ahead of some people, but if I don't, they're going to catch up just like with one of my great mentors, Pat Chance. She was a great coach, and I surpassed her winning record in Anne Arundel County, and when I stop, somebody's going to surpass mine."

For Mohler, a Mount St. Joseph graduate, who did not play basketball but managed the Gaels team, his 20-year stint at Catonsville began with a plea from his daughter, Meghann. Mohler had coached a year at Seton Keough and planned to stay there, but when then-coach Dennis Quinby left the Comets, Mohler took over his daughter's team.

Since then, he has won three regional championships and four Baltimore County championships. His record, including the year at Seton Keough, is 399-109. He has never had a losing season and stands 10th on the area's all-time career coaching list.

"You have all these great memories, and it seems like I just started yesterday." Mohler said. "I looked it up, and it was almost five years to the day when I got 300 -- Jan. 23, 2009. These five years have gone by so fast, but it starts and stops with the kids. I have been so blessed and so lucky to coach at Catonsville, because we have good kids and good athletes, and with good athletes, you can do a lot, and fortunately, they still like basketball."

Mohler has been coaching for 41 years, his early years with boys teams. He started with CYO, and he also coached the Lansdowne boys for a year, the freshman team at Johns Hopkins and the Catonsville Community College men.

The highlight of his year at Seton Keough was a win over McDonogh when the Eagles had Sonia Chase. That earned the Gators a spot in The Baltimore Sun's Top 15, and since then, Mohler's teams have been ranked every year but one.

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