T.C. Williams school officials hired Bob McKeag, the former South County Secondary Director of Student Activities, to the vacant athletic director position on Tuesday. McKeag replaces Kerry Donley, who will conclude his three-year stint as athletic director on July 31.
McKeag was among three finalists who were interviewed by a panel including Donley, various coaches and parents last week. Interim principal William Clendaniel eventually chose McKaeg between two finalists.
“I’ve always admired T.C. Williams,” McKaeg said on Tuesday. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the school. It was intriguing to me when the job opened up. I decided it was something that I wanted to pursue.”
McKaeg mostly recently was at South County — another Patriot District school — where he oversaw the activities program since the school opened three years ago. The Stallions’ baseball and softball programs have each won two district titles, with the baseball team achieving the state semifinals in the school’s second season.
“It’s been exhausting time wise, but it’s always been extremely rewarding to see it become reality,” McKaeg said. “…I would certainly consider starting the activities program at South County to be one of the two biggest achievements of my career.”
<b>McKAEG BEGAN</b> his coaching career at Western Albemarle High School, where he was a health and physical education teacher. As the school’s first-ever boys basketball coach, McKaeg went 60-49 from 1977-1982.
It was at Western Albemarle when he met many of his soon-to-become Fairfax County colleagues, including current Westfield director of student activities Francis Dall, Westfield assistant principal Brian Grainer, Westfield football coach Tom Verbanic and current Centreville principal Mike Campbell.
“I’ve been blessed,” McKaeg said. “I’ve worked in great schools with great people. I’ve been surrounded by people that have helped me do the things that I was doing at any given time.”
In 1982, he was hired to overhaul the Robinson boys basketball program, beginning his three-decade odyssey at five Fairfax County schools. In the third year, McKaeg’s Rams won the district and advanced to the state championship in 1987, when Robinson lost by 10 points to Alonzo Mourning’s Indian River squad.
McKaeg left Robinson after the 1988-1989 season, carrying with him a school-record 98 victories.
“That was the culmination of a lot of hard work over five years to turn a basketball program around,” McKaeg said, citing one of his two proudest career achievements.
He then spent time following his children, the former Kylie McKaeg (now a teacher at Westfield) and Matt McKaeg (recently hired as the boys basketball coach at Varina in Richmond) first at Lanier Middle School, and then over six seasons at Chantilly, where he was the head girls basketball coach as well as a football and boys basketball assistant.
Bob McKaeg transferred to Westfield when the school opened in 2000 to become the school’s first-ever boys basketball coach, assistant director of student activities and physical education chair. During five years, he amassed a 59-37 record before retiring from coaching in 2005 with a 217-154 career record, and a .585 winning percentage.
<b>McKAEG’s BASKETBALL</b> background was a draw for school officials, according to Donley, who announced he would resign after three years at T.C. Williams to pursue a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009.
“He’s excited about coming here to T.C.,” Donley, a former Alexandria mayor, said on Tuesday. “He’s got an extensive basketball background, I think that’s one of the reasons he was attractive. He comes with a teaching, coaching as well as an administrative background. He can appreciate the various perspectives when it comes to following the existing rules and regulations that we follow.”
During the 2007-2008 season, former head coach Ivan Thomas led the Titans to their first boys basketball Virginia AAA state championship in 31 years. Over the past three years, T.C. has a 78-11 record, including a perfect 52-0 record within the Patriot District.
Donley hired Julian King, a varsity assistant last season, as the new boys basketball coach on July 2, just days after he appointed new coaches for baseball and softball.
Donley also hired Jim Lewis, a 37-year coaching veteran, who led the Titans to 22 straight wins, before faltering in the Northern Region playoffs because of a shoulder injury to consensus All-American Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.
“We also brought on some quality coaches, and they all had the moment in the sun. That’s been fun to see,” Donley said. “But I think in the final analysis, it’s a joy working with the kids here who don’t win all the time, but try real hard. They represent the school in exemplary fashion.”
McKaeg alliterated to the personnel that he inherits, as well as the new facilities, which include a state-of-the-art artificial turf football field, track and gymnasium in addition to new weight and wrestling rooms.
“I certainly don’t consider T.C. Williams to be a situation that is broken and needs to be fixed,” McKaeg said. “I plan to be an observer initially — getting to know people in the school and in the community. I’ve always felt that if you take care of the little things, the big things take care of themselves. I believe we have a strong tradition and foundation for an excellent program at T.C. Williams. I’m looking forward to carrying it on.”