Celebrating Coach MacDermott

On Saturday, November 10, a group of alumni, faculty emeriti/ae, former coaches and friends gathered in Heath Commons to remember William MacDermott, a teacher, football and wrestling coach from 1961–1966 at Hopkins Grammar School.

Known to his students as Mr. Mac, MacDermott came to Hopkins after attending Trinity College, teaching Earth Science in the Junior School and coaching football and wrestling. Though his time at Hopkins was brief, his impact was profound, and the class of 1965 HGS chose to dedicate their yearbook to him. He then went on to coach football at Wesleyan University for 20 years, including fifteen years as Head Coach, before joining the pros as a positional coach for the NFL and CFL for the remainder of his career.

Though efforts had been made to bring Mr. Mac back to the Hill several times in recent years, he was never able to make the trip, and sadly passed away on May 5, 2016. Alumni Bill Kneisel ‘65 HGS, Peter Kneisel ‘67 HGS, and John Braman ‘65 HGS conceptualized and organized this gathering as a remembrance of Mr. Mac and a celebration of his impact on those at Hopkins in the 60’s.

After watching the current Hopkins football team beat Amistad Academy 35-14, the guests gathered at a reception featuring a video from the last game of the 1964 undefeated season and a slideshow of photographs from the football and wrestling teams that Mr. Mac coached. After a welcome by Kai Bynum, Head of School, speakers Bill Kneisel ‘65 HGS, Fred Southwick ‘64 HGS, Billy Walik ‘66 HGS, John Braman ‘65 HGS, Chris Fenger ‘64 HGS and Steve Southwick ‘66 HGS paid tribute to Mr. Mac, telling stories and sharing some of the wisdom that has stayed with them all these years later.

In the words of Fenger, “I’m so glad Hopkins chose this day to recognize him. It is long overdue, and in the regrettable way that this so often happens, is too late to let a great man know how much he meant to us. Here’s to you, Mr. Mac.”

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