Upon his graduation from High Point University, Terry Terrill was offered the Riverdale Baptist head coaching position as a 22-year-old. While his peers took graduate assistant jobs to work their way up the collegiate coaching ranks, he was given the reins of the Upper Marlboro private school.
Thirty-eight years later, Terrill is one win away from joining an elite group of high school coaches who have won 1,000 games. He has sent several players on to play for major league organizations — most recently Matt McPhearson, who was selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. His teams have finished in USA Today’s Top 25 three times, been atop The Post’s season-ending rankings five times and seen 20 players earn All-Met honors.
Crusaders baseball has also taken Terrill and his players to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic for games against international competition.
“When you’re a 22-year old kid, you don’t think this far ahead. I’m just fortunate to get a job, and they needed a coach,” Terrill said. “I’m fortunate to help kids in the game of life and along the way we’ve won a few games.”
The sixth-ranked Crusaders (15-4) have won more than a few games. They boast an active streak of 20-win seasons dating back to 1986. In 2000, Riverdale won a school record 43 games.
This week, Riverdale has had two shots to get their coach to 1,000, but both came up short. Monday’s loss to Oakdale was followed by a Tuesday loss to St. Ignatius (Ohio), giving the Crusaders their first two-game losing streak of the season.
“Sometimes you get hot and sometimes you go through a few games where it isn’t there,” Terrill said. “They know we’re one win away, but I don’t think that’s the reason we haven’t got there. We’ll bounce back. This is a great group of kids and they make it fun to coach.”
The Crusaders will get their next shot Friday at home against No. 9 DeMatha. Six-foot-one right hander Taylor Bloom said Terrill has hinted he will get the start. The senior Maryland signee is 6-1 with 70 strikeouts.
“There is a little pressure, especially after we lost the first chance at getting the 1,000th win,” Bloom said.
Terrill, 60, said he hasn’t put a timetable on when he will stop coaching but as long as he has the passion and drive, he will don the Crusaders jersey.
“To get 1,000 wins means I’ve been around a long time, but I’m sure we’re going to get it sooner or later,” Terrill said. “Once we get that, we’re going to go for the next 1,000.”
After a rough early-season stretch with three one-run losses, Georgetown Prep has now won 11 in a row, including a 2-1 victory over No. 9 DeMatha on Saturday. The Little Hoyas (18-7) have not lost in the Interstate Athletic Conference since May 2011.
“I think mentally, we’re in a little bit different spot, keeping ourselves under control, feeling like we’re going to find our spot at some point during the game and not squander it,” Coach Chris Rodriguez said of his team’s run. “I think it’s probably between the ears more than anything.”
The same could be said of Georgetown Prep’s success on the recruiting stage. While some schools have a handful of future college players, few can rival the Little Hoyas, who boost their recruiting profiles with stellar academic performances as well as plays on the field.
Of the nine seniors on Georgetown Prep’s roster, seven have committed to continue their baseball careers in college. An eighth will play football. In addition, sophomore Matt Mervis has already orally committed to Duke, and a handful of juniors are receiving Division I interest.
Rodriguez will be the first to admit that it all starts with individual talent. But he also said his players have made the most of their academic opportunities at Georgetown Prep, opportunities that might not be available to players at other schools in the area.
“I think the two go hand in hand,” Rodriguez said. “Baseball, you’re going to have to work. There’s a lot of failure, a lot of ups and downs. It’s a long journey. Academics are the same thing.”
Scholarships at top Division I programs are few and far between. But some players have used good grades to get looks from quality schools at which some of the elite recruits might not be academically eligible.
Seniors Nick Harper (Holy Cross) and Quentin Bubb (Lafayette) will face one another at rival Patriot League schools next season, while Ben Furlong has committed to Haverford. Stephen Johnston will play football at Dartmouth.
“Some guys can commit as a sophomore, and other guys it’s all the way into their senior year. But I think they’ve bought into the fact that they’re going to have an opportunity,” Rodriguez said. “If they keep working, they’re going to have an opportunity. And there’s a school out there that’s going to fit them.”
Poolesville had shut out three of its past four opponents entering Wednesday’s game against Blair. . . . JB Bukauskas recorded 14 strikeouts to lead Stone Bridge to a 2-0 win over Briar Woods on Tuesday. . . . La Plata beat then-No. 10 Arundel over the weekend before losing to Southern, 6-5, with several reserves in the lineup. . . . DeMatha blanked Paul VI, 6-0, last week to avenge its loss on April 6. . . . Atholton edged Reservoir, 3-2, in a thrilling walk-off win Tuesday that could go a long way in the Howard County title race.
1. Poolesville (11-0) LW: 2
2. St. John’s (15-5) LW: 1
3. Stone Bridge (11-1) LW: 6
4. La Plata (13-2) LW: 4
5. Madison (11-2) LW: 7
6. Riverdale Baptist (15-4) LW: 3
7. Battlefield (8-1) LW: NR
8. Atholton (11-1) LW: NR
9. DeMatha (12-5) LW: 9
10. Gaithersburg (12-1) LW: NR
Records through Tuesday.