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Updated August 19, 2012
The all-time winningest coach in Johns Hopkins football history, Jim Margraff is entering his 23rd season as the head football coach at Homewood.
A 1982 Johns Hopkins graduate, Margraff returned to Homewood in 1990 to resurrect the Blue Jay football program. Since then, the Blue Jays have enjoyed a successful run that is unparalleled in the history of the program.
Margraff Guides Hopkins to National Success
The greatest four-year period in school history culminated 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. Along the way, JHU spent the entire season ranked in the top 25 in the nation - including the first in-season top-10 rankings in school history - and capped the first 10-0 regular season in school history with a 28-24 win at rival McDaniel. Hopkins ended the season with the first-ever home NCAA Playoff game in school history.
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 four-year run 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 guided 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 ESPN The Magazine 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 four-year 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 ESPN The Magazine 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 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 16 winning seasons during his tenure at Homewood and 18 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.
Hopkins players have earned numerous awards and honors during Margraff's tenure. In recent years the Blue Jay football program has produced six NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipients, 13 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 10 NCAA Division III All-Americans, a Woody Hayes Award recipient, a NACDA-Disney Scholarship recipient and four Burger King Scholar-Athletes. In addition, three players have been named to the AFCA Good Works Team since 2005.
Margraff the Player
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
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 Baltimore chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. In addition, he is a member of the AFCA's Public Relations Committee and recently completed a term on the AFCA's Ranking 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 booster club of Hopkins athletics, and is currently a member of the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee.
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