Couple knows success in coaching/teaching at Hereford High — and now in parenting

Caitlin and Brad Duvall found themselves busy and in different places on Nov. 11.

Caitlin coaches the Hereford High School field hockey team, and the Bulls were trying to win their fourth consecutive state title that Saturday afternoon. However, Glenelg handed Hereford a 1-0 loss in the 3 p.m. Class 2A championship game at Washington College in Chestertown.

While the Bulls made the trek back to Parkton, the girls’ soccer team that her husband, Brad, coached was preparing for and then winning a 7 p.m. state semifinal game versus Winters Mill on a cold and windy night at River Hill High School in Howard County. The coaches kept in contact through Brad’s parents and parents of Hereford players at the field hockey game.

This is what life is like at times for the Duvalls, who live in Upperco and both teach at Hereford High. Caitlin, who teaches special education, and Brad, who teaches physics, also both coach and have combined to win seven state championships — although they’ve never personally seen the other bring home a trophy due to scheduling conflicts.

Brad Duvall has coached the girls’ indoor track team to Class 3A state titles in 2012 and 2013, plus Class 2A crowns in 2016 and 2017 during the winter season. He also coached the girls’ soccer team to the state finals last fall, where they lost to River Hill a few days after the Winters Mill win.

Meanwhile, Caitlin Duvall guided the field hockey team to Class 2A state championships in 2015, 2016 and 2017 during the fall season.

“I’ve never seen one of her state title wins … and to me, that’s tough,” Brad Duvall said. “It’s tough, but it’s part of what we do.”

The problem in the fall is that they’re coaching at the same time, while the difficulty with indoor track is that the championship meet is held in Prince George’s County, and it lasts around six hours. In addition, it is hard to tell sometimes if a team is the favorite to win because numerous schools take part in the title meet.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Caitlin Duvall said. “Ultimately, it would be awesome if he could be at every game [of mine], and I could be at every game of his, [but] it’s our lifestyle.”

Brad Duvall, 34, is now in his 10th year of teaching at Hereford. He went to school there before graduating in 2002 after running indoor track and playing soccer and baseball. Duvall then went to Bucknell University, where he played baseball, before returning to the Baltimore area.

He coached for three years at Loch Raven High and then came back to Hereford. Duvall coaches soccer in the fall and track in the winter and spring, a schedule which keeps him busy all the time.

“It’s challenging and you’ve got to budget your time wisely,” he said. “It’s great to get to know the kids on a different level.”

Caitlin Duvall, 33, is from Ann Arbor, Mich., and played field hockey at Kent State in Ohio. She arrived at Hereford High in the fall of 2010, and the two coaches began dating quietly that season before marrying in August, 2015.

She took over as the varsity field hockey coach at Hereford in 2014 after working as an assistant coach for four years. Hereford athletic director Mike Kalisz has been impressed with what both Duvalls have accomplished running their respective programs.

He’s also a big fan of both personally and professionally — and even officiated at their wedding.

“They collaborate regarding training methods, coaching techniques and practice and game organization,” Kalisz said. “They are methodical in their planning and are highly effective in implementing coaching strategies. What Brad and Caitlin have achieved in such a relatively short period of time is simply amazing.”

Adam Hittner is one of the track coaches at Hereford who has worked with and competed against Brad Duvall. He coached with him at Loch Raven years ago and enjoys being back with him again.

“His depth of knowledge he has gained is amazing,” Hittner said. “He leaves no stone unturned and will try an athlete in any event until he finds the right spots for people.”

When both are coaching in the fall, they will discuss various aspects of their jobs and teams. Caitlin Duvall said it helps to have someone she can speak with who understands what her day and team are like. They’ll often talk after games and, as Brad calls it, debrief each other.

“He knows my athletes,” Caitlin said. “He provides good feedback and advice. It’s nice to know he has the same position as me.”

Caitlin Duvall said that previous field hockey coach Tammy Mundie also deserves credit for her success as a head coach. Duvall said Mundie built the Bulls into a program that competed at the highest levels, and it was a good place for a young coach to learn.

Duvall still often goes to her former boss for advice. After all, Mundie teaches calculus and computer science right next door, a teacher/coach who takes pride in what her former assistant has accomplished.

“No doubt Cait had a receptive and driven group of girls to work [with] when she arrived at Hereford, but her eagerness to engage and share her knowledge of the game only strengthened our program and enhanced my own coaching perspective,” Mundie said. “I learned as much from her as she learned from me.”

The Duvalls recently undertook a new kind of coaching/teaching role with the birth of their first child, daughter Greer, on Feb. 10. Caitlin was due to return to school earlier this month after maternity leave.

The Duvalls, as they experience parenting for the first time, are trying for the same success that they’ve had as teachers and coaches. It was a tall task in the first few weeks — as with most new parents — but both are approaching it sensibly and optimistically.

“It’s a whole different kind of team we’re working with here,” Caitlin said. “I told Brad I think that parenting is the ultimate team effort. It’s had its moments when it’s been a challenge, but it’s been great so far.”

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