Greg Chimera has had the interim tag removed from his position and will be the full-time head coach of the Johns Hopkins football program, the university announced Friday.
Chimera, a former fullback for the Blue Jays who graduated in 2009 with a degree in psychological and brain sciences and a minor in entrepreneurship and management, had been the team’s offensive coordinator since 2014 and recently completed his 10th season at Homewood Field.
He becomes the 27th head coach in school history and succeeds Jim Margraff, who died suddenly Jan. 2 at his home in the Baltimore area. Margraff, a former Johns Hopkins quarterback, was 58 and had helmed the program for 29 years.
“I’m really just humbled and honored,” said Chimera, who was named the interim head coach Jan. 9. “I just think that Johns Hopkins is a great university in general, one of the tops in the world. So it’s humbling to have any job at Hopkins. My offensive coordinator job was humbling, but to be leading this team and leading this program especially after 29 years of greatness, it’s super humbling for me. I’m hesitant to say that I’m excited just because I wish that Coach was still here and I was still his offensive coordinator. But I’m ready for it. I feel very prepared, and I think Coach did a great job of always making his assistants better, and I feel super prepared to take the job. I have a really good relationship with our players and our alumni. So I think it’s a great fit for everybody.”
The offense under Chimera averaged at least 37 points in each of his five seasons as the coordinator. The unit also manufactured 500 yards or more per game in each of the past four years.
Last fall, the Blue Jays set program single-season records in victories with 12, scoring 45.8 points per game, and total yards with 550.3 per game. They established school marks in touchdown passes with 39, overall touchdowns with 91, and total points scored with 641 and made their first appearance in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III tournament.
“Greg Chimera emerged from a talented and diverse pool of candidates as the right person to lead our football program,” athletic director Alanna W. Shanahan said in a written statement. “He has been a member of the Blue Jay football family for 14 years and has been an instrumental part of the success the program has enjoyed for the last decade. His passion for Johns Hopkins and understanding of the goals and mission of both the university and our football program have long been evident; we look forward to the leadership he will provide our student-athletes as they develop academically and athletically.”
Chimera said he plans to continue the defense-first, high octane-offense philosophy emphasized by Margraff.
“I think you get used to certain things and when things are successful and change is potentially happening, I think it’s stressful on some people,” he said. “I think our guys know what to expect and how practices are run and know what we expect from them in the classroom. So I think it’s an easier transition even though this can’t be easy at all for obvious reasons. But it’s an easier transition just to try keep things the same a little bit. I’ve told a lot of people that on the outside world, we’re going to look very similar. When you watch us play, we’re going to look very similar. When our guys go on to med school and get great jobs out of college, they’re going to look very similar. So my goal is to be myself and coach how I coach, but I want the core structure of our program to stay almost exactly the same.”
Chimera said he intends to retain every member of the coaching staff unless someone wishes to leave. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity, but expressed regret about replacing Margraff.
“I think this is the exact definition of bittersweet,” he said. “You can say it’s big shoes to fill and things like that, but I think that’s impossible to do, to try to be him or step in his shoes. So I’m just going to be my own person and put my own imprint on the program. In 10 years, I feel like I’ve learned a ton of what it takes to be a successful head coach and a successful person. I’m going to use all the lessons that Coach taught me and just try to be my own person and try to run the program my way, but obviously keep a lot of things the same because it’s been so successful.”