- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Archbishop John Carroll High School honored its two greatest coaches ever at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center yesterday, and yet the heartfelt hosannas were not quite sufficient.

It’s right and proper that Maurice “Maus” Collins and Bob Dwyer will stand alone as charter member of the D.C. school’s new Athletic Hall of Fame. But they also should be hailed nationally as representatives of what scholastic coaches ought to be.

All coaches at the prep and college level blather about being teachers, though their subjects often are confined to blocking, tackling and hitting the outside shot. Collins and Dwyer were indeed educators at Carroll, a school near the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast that became the city’s first integrated Catholic prep institution way back in 1953.

Dwyer, who is 91, regrettably missed the ceremonies because of a fall over the weekend. Son Bobby, who presented his dad for induction, said it might be “the worst day of my father’s life because he was looking forward to this so much.” But Dwyer Sr. certainly was there in spirit, as well as through a videotaped interview.

Collins, as feisty as ever at 75, let fly some choice one-liners after being presented by his son, Will.

“I didn’t realize so many people had free time on Monday,” said Maus, gazing out at an audience of several hundred. Then, talking about his undefeated first team at the school in 1960, he suggested, “They didn’t know what they were doing — and neither did I.”

In both cases, that’s an obvious lie. The 1960 Lions, the very first Collins squad, went 10-0 and smacked down Eastern High in the City Championship football game at Griffith Stadium.

And that was just for openers. In 20 years at Carroll, Collins turned out seven undefeated teams and hundreds of good citizens. Then, after a decade or so as an administrator, he moved over to Gonzaga, a long-dormant Washington Metropolitan Athletic Conference rival, and won there, too, for most of a decade. His career winning percentage at both schools is in the snazzy .880 range, which will do until the next Knute Rockne shows up.

Collins was hired in 1957 by athletic director Dwyer to be junior varsity coach but became a varsity assistant after two days when that coach quit. Three years later, he succeeded Pro Football Hall of Famer Tuffy Leemans as Boss of the Whole Shebang.

“People asked me how I could replace a Hall of Famer with somebody so young, but I knew Maus was the right choice because the kids loved him and he was a winner,” Dwyer once said.

Bob was no slouch at that himself. His 1958-59 and 1959-60 Carroll basketball teams won 55 straight games overall against prep and college freshmen teams, 105 in a row against scholastic opposition and placed four players on the All-Metropolitan first team the latter season.

That’s right — four All-Met spots for Carroll and one for everybody else.

John Thompson Jr., one of the four, didn’t make yesterday’s activities because of his WTEM-AM talk show — I guess Big John never heard of tape recorders — but Monk Malloy, Tom Hoover and current Carroll athletic director George Leftwich were present and accounted for.

Somebody asked old point guard Malloy — now the Rev. Edward Malloy, former president of Notre Dame — how he would have fared with the 3-point shot.

“Shoo!” interrupted old center Hoover, sitting at Monk’s left, “I never would have gotten the ball.”

That, of course, was a joke, because those Carroll teams were nothing if not unselfish,

Dwyer, who coached at St. Anselm’s after leaving Carroll, was a man of many athletic parts; for one, he helped found CYO sports in the Archdiocese of Washington, thereby providing recreation for thousands of children over the decades. But of course, his Carroll teams are what people do and should remember.

The day was filled with tributes to both men, including one by financial mogul Warren Buffett to longtime pal Dwyer’s skill as a racetrack handicapper. Perhaps the best, though, was paid by Leftwich to his former coach — and George could have been speaking just as easily of Collins: “He showed me how to win respect and how to be respectful.”

And isn’t that what sports — and life — should be about?

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