When Ray Fowle graduated from Magruder in 2004, his goal was to come back and be the head coach of his high school alma mater’s football program.
On Thursday, the dream became a reality as Fowle was promoted after spending the last five years as an assistant on the Magruder staff.
He replaces Kevin Bernot, who stepped down from the Magruder head coaching position after two seasons.
Fowle is familiar with Magruder’s recent struggles, which include two consecutive 1-9 seasons. He’s hoping to bring some needed energy into the program.
“I think the biggest thing is the level of excitement with the kids,” Fowle said. “You have to get a level of excitement around the school. Once you get the school on board and the staff on board, then it’s time to branch out to the community.”
Fowle said he hopes to implement a middle school football program for Magruder, similar to those that other Montgomery County schools have. Creating a feeder system into the high school, Fowle said, would get up-and-coming athletes interested in football at an earlier age.
“Growing up in this community, I couldn’t have told you who the Magruder football coach was,” Fowle said. “But I knew who [Magruder basketball Coach] Dan Harwood was. He did a great job selling the Magruder basketball brand. Every kid growing up in this district knows about Coach Harwood. I don’t know if we can say the same about the Magruder football program for the past 20 or 25 years.”
The last time the Colonels reached the postseason was in 2007. They enjoyed some success in the 1980s, winning state championships in Class A in 1986 and Class B in 1984.
As a former offensive lineman who played college football at the Division II Millersville University in Pennsylvania, Fowle said he plans to install a zone blocking scheme on offense. He will begin the search for a defensive coordinator, something he hopes to wrap up in the next week or two.
The Colonels graduated just two seniors from the 2013 team, though Fowle said he’ll still field a youthful group this coming season.
“We have experience coming back but we’re still young,” Fowle said. “We have to find those one or two guys to step up and be an official leader.”