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.
Mohler said he feels fortunate to have the career record he has, because his teams can't play as many games each year as the private school teams can -- although on the flip side, he said, the competition isn't as tough in the county -- and because the Catonsville administration has kept him as coach even though he's not a teacher.
"When you start getting in rarefied air with the top 12 to 15 coaches, I'm just so humbled and proud to be named with those people," said Mohler, whose Comets are 11-2 and ranked No. 13. They host Archbishop Spalding on Monday and Towson on Wednesday.
At Milford Mill, McAliley played on the first Millers girls team to reach the final four in 1993, and she coached the first Millers team to win a state championship in 2005. Her record is 199-41 in 10 years, and her teams have contended for county and regional titles every year.
She was surprised by the approaching milestone when calculating her record recently.
"I didn't even think about it," she said. "My most important thing is that my kids do good in school and go on to college."
McAliley took over the Millers program when her coach, Pam Wright, left for the new program at New Town in 2004. She's been able to sustain the success the program had under Wright, who took them to the final four seven times and the title game six straight times between 1998 and 2003.
"I went to Milford, so it's pride for my program, pride for my school," McAliley said. "I tell my kids, 'I went to Milford and it's personal to me.' My team was the first team to go to states for the girls and they are able to do what they do because of that team. I always let them know to represent well."
The Millers, the top team in Baltimore County, are making another run at a state tournament appearance at 11-1, ranked No. 4 in The Sun's Top 15. They play at Carver A&T on Tuesday.
Another milestone earlier this season makes it a clean sweep with coaches reaching the 200, 300, 400 and 500 mark all in the same season as Dunbar coach Wardell Selby won his 300th career game in December.
Selby, a longtime AAU coach who has been at Dunbar for 17 years, has taken the Poets to six state titles and four in a row -- one shy of the state record. His teams were also runners up twice, including last season in Class 1A. This year, the Poets are 9-3.
Baltimore-metro area girls basketball coaching all-time career win leaders
Name, School(s)/Yrs./Record/Year retired
Lin James, Langford (Ga.), North Harford/48/608-229/2013
Linda Kilpatrick, Southern-AA/38/498-378/Active
Bev (Snyder) Simpson, Towson/478-176/34/2005
Lee Rogers, Arundel/25/470-156/Active
Jerome Shelton, St. Frances/24/455-204/Active
Teresa Waters, Oakland Mills, River Hill/32/455-272/Active
Dave Greenberg, Mount Hebron, Centennial/23/425-113/2000*
Breezy Bishop, Western/25/424-40/1996
Pat Chance, Old Mill/25/415-150/1998
Mike Mohler, Seton Keough, Catonsville/20/399-109/Active
Mary Ella Marion, Mercy/28/389-322/2013
Gus Grason, Towson Catholic/12/342-39/1985
Sally Entsminger, Brookville (Va.), Andover, North County/34/334-N/A/2004
Scott Robinson, Mount Hebron, Howard/16/318-101/Active
Jim Stromberg, Seton Keough, St. Paul’s/17/317-142/2013
Trish Cook, Archbishop Keough, Seton Keough/17/313-104/1991
Pete Connally, Walbrook/18/308-58/1996
*Greenberg continues to coach at Hilton Head, S.C. and has a career record of 558-224Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun