The Gilman football team will have a new varsity head coach patrolling its sidelines in 2018.
Nick Bach, who most recently was the head coach at Mountain View High School in Georgia, was named the Greyhounds' new head football coach Feb. 4. To an outsider, hiring someone who hasn't coached in Maryland may seem like an odd choice for Gilman, but Bach is familiar with Baltimore, having served as an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins from 2003-2004.
While Bach was living in Baltimore, he noticed Gilman and was impressed with the school as a whole.
"I've always kind of had my eye on the Gilman job to be honest with you,'" Bach said during the
Feb. 15 edition of High School Sportsline
. "I remember from 15 years ago being in that neighborhood and thinking, 'Wow, what a great place and a fantastic opportunity that would be. When I heard it was opening up, I quickly applied."
In Bach, the Greyhounds are getting a coach who helped build Mountain View into a program with a winning tradition.
Mountain View first opened in 2009, and initially the school struggled to find wins on the football field. That all changed when Bach became the team's head coach three years ago. Mountain View, which competes in Georgia's largest classification at 7A, reached the state playoffs for the first time in 2016.
Mountain View continued to excel last season, finishing 9-2 and reaching the second round of the state playoffs, picking up the program's first postseason win in the process.
"There has been a lot of firsts over the last couple of years, which was exciting," Bach said. "But like I said, as a football coach, you keep an eye on those exceptional opportunities that [are] out there. When Gilman opened up, I just couldn't resist to send in my information and hope for the best."
One thing Bach won't have to worry about at Gilman is bringing victories to a program that has struggled to win.
The Greyhounds are historically one of Maryland's best programs, and recently enjoyed its best stretch under legendary head coach, Biff Poggi. Poggi, who is now a co-head coach at St. Frances Academy after spending a year with the University of Michigan football team as an associate head coach/special advisor, led the Greyhounds to 13 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association "A" conference titles. During his 19 seasons as head coach, which ended in 2015, Poggi compiled a 135-43 record.
Gilman's athletic director Tim Holley has coached the Greyhounds the past two seasons since Poggi's departure. After a difficult first season, the Greyhounds found success in 2017. Gilman finished 5-7, but enjoyed a strong run toward the end of the season, including a victory against rival McDonogh. The Greyhounds also topped Calvert Hall in the MIAA "A" conference semifinal round, before finishing its season with a loss to St. Frances in the league championship.
For Bach, Holley has been an incredible resource; the two have spoken to each other almost every day since Bach got hired.
"He is the epitome of what Gilman produces, and I hope that I can live up to the expectations of the Gilman program and do right by him and all the previous people who have worked there because they set the standard so high," Bach said. "I definitely want to give my best effort, make everybody proud and do a great job representing Gilman with class and distinction, and everything else they've been known for throughout the years."
It's for those reasons that Bach doesn't think he's facing a complete overhaul with the Gilman football program. In his eyes, the team has plenty of things working, meaning his main job will be to enhance what Gilman is already doing well.
Bach's goal is to have Gilman seriously competing for the MIAA "A" conference title every year. It'll be a tough task, with St. Frances becoming a nationally renowned powerhouse, as well as having traditionally successful programs like McDonogh and Calvert Hall to contend with. Thankfully for Bach, he's coached against plenty of powerful programs during his time at Mountain View, so the chances of him being overwhelmed by the conference are slim.
For now, Bach is just focused on getting to know his current crop of players. He met the group for the first time Feb. 9, and despite it being a brief meeting, he came away encouraged.
"Getting to meet those guys was really good for just introduction purposes, and I'm really excited," Bach said. "I think it's going to be a really great group of guys."
For more from Bach, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit Courtesy of Nick Bach