We need more coaches like JHU's Jim Margraff

Jim Margraff’s wife, Alice, advised all three of my children at McDonogh School on where to attend college for Division I lacrosse. After reading about her husband’s legacy at Johns Hopkins University, I only regret that they were not football players at JHU (“Community gathers at Johns Hopkins to pay tribute to late football coach Jim Margraff,” Jan. 26).

I can count on one hand the number of coaches my kids had in all their sports over the years that had the values and character that Coach Margraff seemed to possess. To have a coach who cared deeply about how you turned out as a person and lead that charge by example, I have since learned, is truly rare.

I was lucky to have had such a coach at Bryn Mawr School back in the ‘60s. Norma Simmons coached me in basketball, lacrosse and field hockey. Ms. Simmons taught me what sportsmanship is all about; you respect your opponents, teammates and referees. You never clapped for an opponent’s mistake. Sportsmanship was far more important than winning.

Teamwork was what made us win. We had phenomenal athletes (of which I was not one), but we were all treated with dignity and respect and were an integral part of the team. She gave everyone a chance. And the interesting lesson was that because we didn’t focus on winning, trophies or championships, or getting our names in the newspapers because we focused on teamwork and hard work. Because we found joy in playing our sport, we won a lot.

I wish we could clone Ms. Simmons and Mr. Margraff. The world of sports would be a much better place.

Laurie Stieff Kelly

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