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Updated August 10, 2017
The all-time winningest coach in Johns Hopkins football history, Jim Margraff is entering his 28th season as the head coach at Homewood. With a record of 200-85-3 (.700) since returning to Johns Hopkins in 1990, the four-time Centennial Conference Coach of the Year (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016) and three-time AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year (2011, 2014, 2016) has elevated the Blue Jay football program to national prominence. Boiling it down to the lowest denominators, Johns Hopkins is one of just four teams in the nation that has been ranked every week since the start of the 2012 season and Jim Margraff’s 200 wins are the sixth-highest total among active Division III coaches.
Margraff Guides Hopkins to National Success
In addition to sitting atop the all-time victories list at Johns Hopkins, Margraff’s 200 career victories are the most of any college football coach in Maryland state history and his 145 all-time Centennial Conference victories (145-53-2) rank as the league standard as well. His .730 league winning percentage is also the highest in Centennial history.
The success of the Blue Jay football program under Margraff - on and off the field - is evident in the numbers: a league record 12 Centennial Conference titles, eight trips to the NCAA Playoffs, four ECAC titles, 19 players who have earned All-America honors a combined 37 times and 26 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans.
Under Margraff’s guidance, the 2016 Blue Jays posted a school-record-tying 11 wins, captured an unprecedented eighth straight Centennial Conference title, produced three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 16 All-Centennial Conference selections, the Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year and hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Playoffs.
Three All-Americans, three Academic All-Americans, the Centennial Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year and 10 CoSIDA Academic All-District selections highlighted a haul of honors and awards in 2015. The 2015 season also included a Centennial Conference title, 11 wins and a spot in the top 25 throughout the year.
The success of 2015 came on the heels of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons that ended with Centennial Conference titles, two trips to the second round of the NCAAs (2012, 2014), the first home NCAA playoff game in school history (2011) and the first 10-0 regular season record in school history (2011). Coupled together, the last six seasons have seen Johns Hopkins post a staggering 63-7 overall record and a 59-1 regular season mark.
Earning the first-ever in-season top-10 ranking in school history, JHU enjoyed – at the time - the greatest regular season in school history in 2011 as the Blue Jays posted a 10-1 record, grabbed a third consecutive Centennial Conference title and advanced to the NCAA Playoffs for the second time in three years.
The honors rolled in for the Blue Jays at the end of the 2011 season: 14 All-Centennial selections, six d3football.com All-South picks, three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and nine CoSIDA Academic All-District selections. In addition, senior quarterback Hewitt Tomlin was one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Award, which is presented annually to the top Division III player in the nation.
The list of honors at the end of the 2012 season was virtually identical with the Centennial Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, two Academic All-Americans and six Academic All-District selections. Not to be outdone, 2013 saw Johns Hopkins produce two Academic All-Americans, two NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients and the program’s first-ever National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete. A year later, Hopkins set a school record with 11 wins (11-1), advanced to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs and produced one All-American, two Academic All-Americans, the Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Year and 10 CoSIDA Academic All-District picks.
Johns Hopkins’ current nine-year run of success began in 2008 as Margraff guided a youth-filled Blue Jay roster to an 8-3 record, including a 6-2 mark in the Centennial Conference. Hopkins tied for second place in the league and advanced to the ECAC Southeast Championship game - JHU’s fourth ECAC Bowl game in seven years.
The 2008 season was merely a prelude to 2009, a season that ranks as one of the greatest in school history. Margraff led the Blue Jays to a 10-3 record, the Centennial Conference Championship and a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Blue Jays ended the season ranked eighth in the nation in the final AFCA Poll and stunned previously undefeated Hampden-Sydney and Thomas More on the road in the first two rounds of the NCAA Playoffs before falling in the South Region Championship game. In all, JHU played four teams ranked in the top 25 during the 2009 season and came away with three wins in those games.
With the overwhelming team success in 2009 came the individual accolades. Johns Hopkins produced the Centennial Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in Andrew Kase and Colin Wixted and also landed a pair of players on the Academic All-America team in Steve Levinson and Mike Stoffel, who both garnered second team honors. In addition, senior Tim Miller was named to the prestigious AFCA Good Works Team and JHU placed a school-record 16 players on the All-Centennial team.
The Blue Jays continued their recent run of success in 2010 as JHU capped the season with a share of the Centennial Conference title and a 44-14 win over Lebanon Valley in the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl. Along the way, JHU produced the Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Year in junior wide receiver Sam Wernick, added seven more players to its all-time list of CoSIDA Academic All-District selections and broke numerous offensive records en route to scoring a then school-record 394 points.
Prior to the most recent run, Hopkins grabbed its first-ever outright Centennial Conference Championship in 2005 after earning a share of the three previous Centennial Conference titles. The Blue Jays capped the 2005 season with the program’s initial trip to the NCAA Playoffs and finished with an 8-3 record. The NCAA Playoff berth extended the team’s run of consecutive post-season appearances as JHU won three straight ECAC Championships from 2002-04 and compiled a 36-8 (.818) record from 2002 through 2005.
Despite heavy graduation losses after the 2004 season, the Blue Jays entered the 2005 season as the preseason pick to win the Centennial Conference title and a pair of last-second wins in the first three weeks of the season sparked a 7-0 start that saw Hopkins jump to number 15 in the national rankings. Late-season road victories at Muhlenberg and McDaniel helped secure the outright Centennial Championship, which carried the automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs the Blue Jays had narrowly missed out on the previous three years.
The Blue Jays, who finished with three more wins than any other team in the Centennial Conference in 2005, produced a league-best 14 all-conference performers and six players earned Academic All-District accolades, including senior Jim Sanders, who went on to earn Second Team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America honors.
The 2004 Blue Jays placed a then school-record 15 players on the All-Centennial team, posted a 9-2 record and fought their way back from a loss in the league opener to earn a share of their third straight CC title. Hopkins capped the season with a thrilling 26-23 come-from-behind win over Waynesburg in the ECAC Southeast Championship game.
The 2003 season was the most successful in the history of the program at the time as Margraff guided the Blue Jays to a 10-1 record, a share of a second straight Centennial Conference Championship and the ECAC South Atlantic title. The Blue Jays spent nine of 11 weeks ranked in the top 25 during the 2003 season. Prior to 2003, the Blue Jays had never been ranked in the top 25. The 7-0 start for the 2003 team was, at the time, the best in school history.
The Blue Jays began the 2003 season with seven straight wins and rose to a then program-best ranking of 13th in the AFCA Poll. A loss on the road dashed hopes of an undefeated regular season, but the Blue Jays bounced back to win their final two games to grab a share of a second straight CC title. A dominating 41-13 win over King’s in the ECAC South Atlantic Championship Game capped the record-breaking season and set the stage for the success of the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
The 10 wins the Blue Jays accumulated in 2003 were a then school record, breaking the previous record of nine, which stood for just one year as Margraff’s 2002 team posted a 9-2 record, claimed a share of the program’s first-ever Centennial Conference title and won the ECAC Southwest Championship. Prior to 2002 Johns Hopkins had never won more than seven games in a season.
The 2002 Blue Jays sprinted to a 5-0 start, at the time the best start for a Johns Hopkins football team since 1931. The 5-0 start led to the highest national ranking in school history (at the time) as JHU was ranked 26th in the AFCA Division III Poll for one week before falling to eventual Centennial co-champion Muhlenberg.
Needing a win in the last regular season game of the year to grab a share of the Centennial Conference title, the Blue Jays stunned 15th-ranked McDaniel, 27-7, and knocked off Frostburg State, 24-21, a week later in the first postseason game in school history.
The success from 2002 through 2005 was a product of the groundwork laid during Margraff’s early tenure.
In his first year as head coach, Margraff led the Blue Jays to their first winning season since 1985 and, at that point, the highest Centennial Conference finish ever (third) for a JHU football team. Margraff has since guided the Blue Jays to 21 winning seasons during his tenure at Homewood and 23 seasons with a record of at least .500. Prior to his arrival for the 1990 season, Johns Hopkins posted a winning record just seven times in the previous 18 seasons.
The 1995 squad jump-started a four-year run that ranked as the winningest four-year period in school history (27-12-1) at the time. That year, Hopkins jumped out to a 6-1 start and made its first appearance in the NCAA regional rankings. In 1996, 1997 and 1998 the Blue Jays tied the then-school record for wins with three consecutive 7-3 seasons. In each of those years the Blue Jays were alive in the race for the Centennial title until late in the season.
In 2001, the Blue Jays posted a 6-3 overall record, including a 4-2 mark in the Centennial Conference. Along the way JHU dropped only a game to eventual national finalist Bridgewater and a pair of league games on the road by a total of 11 points.
The Blue Jays capped the 2001 season with a thrilling 21-14 victory over ninth-ranked Western Maryland. The win snapped the Green Terror’s 33-game Centennial winning streak and the Terror remain the highest ranked team ever defeated by a Hopkins squad. The 2001 team led the nation in pass efficiency defense and became the first NCAA Division III team since 1980 to go through an entire season without allowing a touchdown pass.
The success between 1995-2001 was a prelude to the run from 2002 through 2005, which saw the Blue Jays compile the 36-8 overall record with a then school-record 11-game winning streak bridging the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Margraff the Player
Margraff began turning hard work and dedication into success on the football field during his playing days at Hopkins. As a four-year starting quarterback for the Blue Jays, he rewrote the Hopkins passing record book. Margraff ranked as the Blue Jays’ all-time statistical leader in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yardage and touchdown passes when he concluded his career.
As a co-captain during his final year he helped lead Hopkins to a 7-2 finish, matching the school’s all-time record for wins in a season at the time. In 1997, he was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame.
Margraff as an Assistant Coach
Margraff chose to remain in football after graduation and has been coaching since 1982. After a one-year stint coaching the quarterbacks at Hopkins, he returned to his high school on Long Island and coached the Miller Place offensive and defensive backfields. In 1985, he moved back to the college ranks, coaching the offensive line at the University at Albany. Margraff is one of the many successful college and professional coaches to go through the Albany program.
In 1987, Margraff became an assistant at the University of Pennsylvania and coached the tight ends. While at Penn, he coached All-Ivy League tight end Brent Novoselsky, who went on to play in the NFL. The following year he joined the staff at the University of Rochester, working with the offensive line.
At Rochester, he worked with head coach Ray Tellier, who brought Margraff with him to Columbia University in 1989. During his time at Columbia he coached the offensive line and served as one of the staff’s top recruiters.
Margraff is a member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and the organization’s Public Relations Committee.
Alice Margraff was a standout field hockey, squash and lacrosse player at Johns Hopkins and was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in October, 2000. She has served a two-year term as the President of Blue Jays Unlimited, the official fund-raising arm of Hopkins athletics, and is currently a member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame committee.