James Monroe (File photo: Andy Hilton/recruitNoVA)
George Coghill moves from interim to head coach at James Monroe
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
James Monroe has found its new football coach, hiring a familiar name, as former standout and current interim coach George Coghill was officially approved by the Fredericksburg School Board on Monday night to lead the Yellow Jacket program.
In Coghill, the Jackets may have a commodity not seen in other Northern Virginia schools – that is, a head coach with a Super Bowl ring. In fact, Coghill, a former safety with the Denver Broncos, won two, with his professional career crossing with John Elway’s pair of NFL titles. In the first year, Coghill was a member of the practice squad, and didn’t suit up for a regular season or playoff game, but still earned a ring for being with the team the entire season.
However, the following year, 2000, Coghill played nine regular season games, as well as in Super Bowl XXXIII, and contributed well. On the opening kickoff, he made a tackle to set the tone for the Broncos. Late in the game, the Wake Forest graduate forced a key fumble late, which helped to seal the second championship for Coach Mike Shanahan and Denver.
For his NFL career, the Fredericksburg native collected 34 tackles with three interceptions.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Orleans Saints in 1993, Coghill’s professional career was initially cut short after he tore a knee ligament during an exhibition game in Tokyo. After a recuperation period, he was allocated to the Scottish Claymores of the World Football League, where he became Claymore’s all-time leading tackler (123), and interception leader, with six. He is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame.
For Coghill, this is a return home, as he played his high school football at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg, where he also lettered in basketball, baseball and track. He has been a part of all four of James Monroe’s state football championships, with the first two coming as a quarterback, defensive back, wide receiver and return man in 1986 and 1987, while playing under Rich Serbay, the Yellow Jacket coach of 35 years, who he replaced, when named the interim head coach three months ago. He also served as an assistant coach in 1996 and 2008, when the Yellow Jackets toppled Brookville to win the Class 3 state titles.
The dismissal of Serbay was a surprise as Monroe finished the 2019 season with a 9-4 record. They reached the Region 3B championship game where they lost to Goochland.
In terms of his coaching philosophy, Coghlan told the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, “I think we’re going to grow as a team in ways not so much as wins and losses because that’s not what I’m about,” Coghill said. “We’re going to be about producing good kids and prepared citizens for this community.”
– Jim McGrath