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Coaching students to success

(Published September 6, 1999)

By KARL HAMMONDS

Special to The Common Denominator

In 1998, the Theodore Roosevelt High School Rough Riders achieved a goal not attained since 1985 – they were city runners-up for the football championship, which went to Dunbar High School. The leadership and perseverance of Roosevelt Head Football Coach Daryl Tilghman made the dream almost come true.

A 1984 Roosevelt graduate, Tilghman played center and defensive tackle, earning a scholarship to Howard University. Knee injuries cut his promising football career short, but Tilghman pursued an even higher goal: to teach. He completed the University of the District of Columbia’s Teacher Preparation Program. Returning later to his alma mater meant a lot to him, Tilghman said.

Since 1995, Tilghman has been head coach of the varsity football team. He is credited with building a championship team against the backdrop of many naysayers and non-believers. Tilghman attributes the team’s success to "senior leadership, hard work and a little bit of luck" and says he’s "looking again for leadership" during this fall’s football season.

As Roosevelt’s athletic director from 1994 to 1997, Tilghman was known for his work ethic, organizational skills and dedication to his students.

"Tilghman is a remarkable young man," said Maurice Butler, former head coach of Roosevelt’s basketball squad. "He considers coaching as much more than the ‘X’s and the ‘O’s. He often serves in the roles of father, parole officer, teacher and mentor to those around him.

"Since 1975, I have seen many come and go at Roosevelt," Butler added. "I coached Daryl in football when he was a student here. I have watched him mature and develop a great rapport with the community, especially the parents. Roosevelt is so lucky to have him."

Tilghman is particularly concerned about preparing his athletes for life after Roosevelt High School. He believes in their academic ability, as well as their athletic skills, and facilitates their early exposure to colleges, encouraging them to get serious about higher education. Tilghman has many times taken students to visit colleges at his personal expense of time and money and helped them set attainable goals.

Since 1994, Tilghman has helped get 25 student athletes from Roosevelt – including women -- admitted to colleges such as Livingstone, Midland Lutheran College, Temple University, Gannon University and Waynesburg State College. He also has helped them earn scholarships totaling $1.6 million.

"Coach Tilghman is the most dedicated high school coach I have met in the past 20 years," said Dan Baranik, assistant dean of Waynesburg State College in Pennsylvania. "He does an excellent job of getting the student athlete to move to the next level athletically and academically.

"He is extremely thorough and particularly adept at matching environments. He places students where they can succeed."

Baranik said his college is "pleased to be ‘adopted,’ so to speak, by Roosevelt High and (we) have 10 Roosevelt students as undergraduates here, and (are) pleased with them all." He described the Roosevelt alumni on the college football team as "great students" as well as talented athletes.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator