Magruder's father-son basketball tandem nearing the end of an era
Magruder senior Tim Harwood will play his final high school basketball game at some point in the next 18 days, be it Saturday in Derwood or on March 13 at the University of Maryland.
Whenever it happens, for the first time in his life, Harwood will look ahead and see himself on a bench other than the Colonels'.
"Tim's been around our program since my second year, when he was born," said his father, head coach Dan Harwood. "Right when he got to the age where you really start to understand basketball is when we were really good. He expected us to win the division every year, win 20 games, go to the state finals and have packed gyms for every game."
Dan Harwood's Magruder tenure has spanned 20 seasons, more than 300 wins, four regional titles, three state finals and one championship, in 2001. His younger of two sons was a ball boy for three straight state qualifiers from 2001-03, and dressed for the Colonels' most recent trip to College Park as a freshman in 2007.
But Tim Harwood arrived on varsity last season just as the program entered its most challenging phase. Beset by graduation losses and chemistry issues, the team went 5-18, the first losing season at Magruder in Tim's lifetime.
"It was tough," Tim said. "Growing up the whole time ... I always expected to win. I finally get there last year and it wasn't anything like that. It was disappointing, and a little embarrassing."
His senior season has been more rewarding. Through the weekend, Tim stands fifth in the county with an 18.7 point-per-game average. More importantly, the Colonels were 11-9, with Tim the only senior in a starting five that includes two freshmen and a sophomore.
He has had to temper his role as the go-to scorer with a healthy dose of spreading the ball around and pumping up his younger teammates. Tim actually scores less when the team wins (17.5 per game) than when it loses (20.0).
His reward came late last week, when he committed to play collegiately at Division III Muhlenberg (Pa.) College.
It all almost never happened. In August 2004, with Tim in seventh grade, Dan accepted the head coaching position at Good Counsel. He had a condition, however: one last winter in Derwood, in part to see out the senior season of his older son, Patrick.
A little more than three months later, he had reconsidered.
"My older son, my two daughters [junior Colleen and 2005 alumna Emily] and wife [Rosemary] were all, OK, whatever you want,'" Dan said. "Tim was the one who was upset."
The Harwoods said Colleen, an All-Gazette first-teamer in field hockey last fall, and Tim would have attended Good Counsel if their father had made the move.
"That was really strange, thinking I wasn't going to go to Magruder," Tim said. "I don't really remember trying to talk him out of it, but I'm really glad he stayed."
Remaining has its benefits for Dan, as well. He says he will be at Magruder for at least four more years, at the end of which he would be eligible to collect retirement. That will also allow him to see out the current rebuilding project, and catch many of Tim's college games; Muhlenberg plays mostly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which fits nicely into the schedule of a public school coach.
And while he would have coached Tim at Good Counsel, as well, Magruder basketball has always been a family affair.
"It's going to be sad whenever this season ends, because it's just been great; I can't put into words how much fun it's been to be around him every day," Dan said. "At the end of the day, the most important thing is being with your kids. ... I've had him in my class for four years, and he works my camp every week. I see my kid more than a dad has a right to."
Added Tim, "I've been waiting to play Magruder basketball ever since I can remember. I've been coming to practice since kindergarten, sitting behind the bench for games. ... I've been growing up in that gym for so long it's like a second home. So to finally have played there, it's been so great."