The first complete girls’ basketball game that Bill McTaggart ever saw was the first game he coached.
And once he started, he didn’t know how long he would last.
“I thought, ‘Two years. Let’s see if I can last two years,’ ” he recalled Wednesday.
As it turned out, McTaggart’s career has been defined by girls. That’s where he earned a state championship. And that’s where he picked up the majority of his victories.
Three hundred victories.
McTaggart, in his 13th season at Iowa City High, hit that milestone Tuesday when the Little Hawks defeated Cedar Falls, 52-23. He is 300-147 overall, 209-86 with the City girls.
Before that, he coached boys’ basketball in Texas for five years. A 1980 graduate of Iowa City West, McTaggart returned to Iowa in 1998 because he viewed it as more safe for his family than south Texas.
At City High, McTaggart has won four Mississippi Valley Conference divisional championships (2000, ’01, ’04 and ’07). The Little Hawks won the 2008 Class 4A state championship behind Kelly Krei and Virginia Johnson.
Krei is at Iowa now; Johnson is a senior who will join her there next season.
“I’ve been blessed with a lot of good student-athletes,” McTaggart said. “It’s been a lot of fun.
“Coaching girls is different than coaching boys. With boys, if the basketball cart is locked before practice, they’ll try to find a way to unlock it. With girls, they might be standing and talking … and the cart is already open.
“But girls, they seem to remember the things you’ve told them for a longer period of time.”
City High (11-2 overall, 7-2 Mississippi Valley Conference) is on track to finish with a winning record for the 11th time in McTaggart’s 13 years. The Little Hawks are at Iowa City West (10-1, 8-1) on Friday.
Big decision ahead for Roloff
Cedar Rapids Kennedy Coach Dennis Roloff has applied for early retirement as a teacher, but has not decided whether he will follow suit as a coach.
“I’m going to wait for basketball season to end, then make a decision,” said Roloff, who said the early-retirement “incentives were just too good” to pass up.
“There’s a lot of stress in coaching, but I still enjoy it.”
Roloff, 57, is in his 20th year with the Kennedy girls. He owns a record of 296-148 there. The Cougars were state semifinalists each of the last two years, but are 4-7 this season with an inexperienced lineup. He also is the boys’ track coach.