When Gilman hosts its season opener Friday, Aug. 26 (4 p.m.) against the Maryland Christian Saints, there will be some new faces on the sideline and the field for the Greyhounds, most notably former DeMatha coach Bill McGregor.
As an assistant on the Greyhound staff, McGregor brings tons of experience from his 29 years and 278 wins with Washington' premier program.
Considering Gilman beat DeMatha five times in 11 games, McGregor is joining a staff that has been one of the most successful rivals the Stags have had to deal with during his tenure at the Hyattsville Catholic school. McGregor's teams lost only 35 other games during his nearly three decades on the job.
The coaching legend, 62, did not arrive in Roland Park empty-handed, either.
His former offensive coordinator Chris Baucia will hold the same position with the Greyhounds now that longtime Gilman player and coach Sherm Bristow has retired.
Moreover — and perhaps more importantly — 6-foot-2, 206-pound junior Shane Cockerille will take over quarterbacking duties from star QB Darius Jennings, who is now at the University of Virginia.
Cockerille was a member of the DeMatha squad that was pummeled, 35-10, at Johnny Unitas Stadium last season.
"He's from Stoneleigh, so he should have been here all along," said Gilman coach Poggi, beginning his 15th year at the helm of his alma mater.
Poggi added that Cockerille applied to Gilman in middle school before ultimately enrolling at DeMatha.
The coach also points out that McGregor did not come on board because of the lopsided loss.
"Bill and I have been friends for a long time," he said, "And I think he was worn out. He's been doing this for how long, 40 years?"
Poggi said that McGregor "won't be here every day" and added that they are both involved in starting a non-profit that will "try to prevent what has happened in basketball from happening in football."
Both coaches have advised the NCAA on how to keep football recruits from becoming too involved with agents, hangers-on and others who will not look out for the youngsters' best interests.
As for detractors who say Poggi — who owns a financial firm in Towson — is unduly using his influence to attract rival coaches like McGregor and players like Cockerille, the coach fires back with his own message.
"Last time I checked, slavery was abolished in 1863," he said. "That means people can go when they want, where they want. Jealousy is a powerful emotion."