In his second stint with the Patriots, Rawlings has the Patriots soaring
Great success is usually rooted in a great plan.
When he returned to John Carroll for his second stint as the school’s head football coach in 2014, Keith Rawlings had a clear vision for where he wanted to take the program.
After an extremely competitive 2014 in which they lost four games by a combined total of 10 points, this season’s Patriots have surprised many, but not themselves. Scoring touchdowns in bunches, the team has jumped out to a 7-0 start, including a thrilling 41-22 victory over MIAA B Conference rival Boys’ Latin in their last contest, which has earned Rawlings the Week 7 Baltimore Touchdown Club Coach of the Week honor.
Rawlings anticipated great things for his 2015 season because he witnessed the preparation his players put into it.
“Really, we had no doubts when we saw how hard these kids worked and how mature they have been, especially our seniors… some great leaders,” said Rawlings. “We are happy with where we are, our seniors set goals and started working on this last winter. They trained, did 7-on-7 and came together as a team. We are so pleased.”
The BL game, which began Friday and was finished Monday, wrapped around what proved to be a tragic weekend for the Rawlings family, as K.C. Colgan, the brother of Rawlings’ wife Kathy, passed away suddenly on Sunday. Visibly shaken with grief on Monday, Rawlings and his son Kurt, the team’s start quarterback, returned to BL to finish what they started, before returning home to mourn with their family. They were joined on the sidelines by Rawlings’ oldest son Keifer, a former All-MIAA standout in football and baseball at St. Paul’s.
“Losing an uncle and having to come out and play a football game. It’s hard,” Rawlings said of his son Kurt, who has passed for 30 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards already this fall to fuel John Carroll’s surge. “It makes the game not mean so much.”
Unsure of whether he and/or his son will accompany the team to its non-conference game at Easton on Friday, Rawlings does not plan to waiver from his goals of building an elite program at John Carroll.
“I am tired of small schools not getting the college attention of the Gilmans and McDonoghs, so we will be playing ‘A’ very soon,” said Rawlings of his desire to move into the MIAA A Conference at some point. “We have players just as good as them. It’s all about the numbers.”
Already this fall, John Carroll owns wins over A Conference programs Loyola and Calvert Hall and the timing of any upward move is again tied to a plan.
“We have 30 kids on varsity. When we played and beat Calvert Hall, they had over 60. We have five or six, sometimes seven kids going both ways; they have none. To play the A Conference schedule week in, week out, you cannot have too many two-way guys. So when our numbers are above 45 on varsity we will be an A Conference team.”
John Carroll has also made great strides in upgrading its facilities to support the athletic program. This fall two new turf fields debuted and a few weeks ago permanent lights were installed on the football field. Although Rawlings is a driving force behind the growth of the JC football program, he could not reach his goals without the support of the school administration.
“We have amazing folks in our administration. Our President Rick O’Hara is hiring all of the right people,” Rawlings said. “Our Principal Madelyn Ball loves kids and football, so that’s awesome. Our Director of finance is making the dollars work and Eddie Maynard, our Admissions Director, works closely with us coaches. His phone is ringing off the hook.
“Our facilities leader Stewart Walker, is on top of the wonderful new facilities and our new AD Steve Teter is working his but off. Brian King, our assistant AD (and lacrosse coach) is awesome. We have a power team at JC and the place is getting better every day. Our alums and sponsors have made the new facilities happen.”
Rawlings also has assembled a great staff to assist him with developing the players.
“We have some great coaches. Bill Lewis, our Offensive Coordinator, new line coach Ken Brinkmann and wide receivers coach Dave Porte have built and amazing, high-powered offense,” said Rawlings. “Jamal Johnson and Joe Caperllio put in incredible hours game planning our defense. Our JV is doing things the right way, lead by head coach Dan Green. His staff of Tim Perry, Brandon Lewis, Rick Lago and Rico Darrington are shaping our future. The future is bright for us.”
Rawlings appreciates the recognition bestowed by the BTC, but he points to his team as being deserving of the honor.
“I am very blessed and humbled by this recognition, but all the credit goes to our kids. They are why we are who we are today.”
Being part of the BTC is also important to Rawlings as a coach interested in seeing all kids reach their potential in football and life.
“The BTC does great things with its banquet and All-Star Game, helping kids get college attention which is not an easy thing. Also, it is a great network of some very good dudes that know football. And, most important, they care for and love the kids.”