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Linus McGinty announces his retirement from O’Hara

Cardinal O’Hara coach Linus McGinty huddles with his players after defeating Archbishop Wood in the Catholic League final at the Palestra in 2017. McGinty won 11 Catholic League titles in 24 years with the Lions and over 800 games in 36 years as a head coach. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

As an athletic director, B.J. Hogan is used to the comings and goings of coaches. Not many of them, however, were once his 11th-grade math teacher. And none that he’s likely to encounter again will have the reputation and pedigree of Linus McGinty.

“It’s amazing,” Hogan said Tuesday. “You sit there and you look, I don’t know how many coaches nowadays could last at a school 25 years and be that successful. … It’s insane how successful he’s been.”

McGinty announced his retirement as the head girls basketball coach at Cardinal O’Hara Tuesday after 24 years at the school and over 800 career wins between O’Hara and Archbishop Carroll over the last four decades.

In the two dozen years at O’Hara, McGinty went 557-113, per the school, making the Catholic League final on 16 occasions and winning 11 titles, including the last two. He won 267 games in 12 seasons with Carroll, giving him 824 career wins.

At O’Hara, he mentored 14 Daily Times Players of the Year, three McDonald’s All-Americans and more than 60 players who went on to play basketball in college, more than 40 at the Division I level.

“I got teary-eyed a little bit and choked up a little bit,” said Washington Mystics guard and 2010 O’Hara grad Natasha Cloud when she heard the news. “Obviously you know the time of his retirement is coming but he’s someone who’s near and dear to my heart, someone who’s helped me grow on and off the court and been such a prominent figure in my basketball career and where I’m at today, as well as in my education. I was blessed to be able to play for him for four years.”

Hogan said that he’s unsure if McGinty, 71, will continue in his teaching role at the school. Either way, he’s become a larger-than-life figure in the eyes of many players despite his diminutive stature on the sidelines. End-of-year pictures with McGinty have become a must-have for O’Hara players, with the hashtag “Linusty” — a portmanteau of “Linus” and “dynasty” — for social media.

“He has left his mark on O’Hara,” said Cloud, an All-Delco and graduate of Saint Joseph’s. “He’s been someone who’ll always be remembered for building a dynasty and making his mark on O’Hara. …

“Coach McGinty has the blueprint, as I would tell everyone. He had a blueprint that if you bought into him and his program and where he wanted to take it, there was no room for error, there was no room for failure. If you followed his blueprint, doors would open for you.”

More than that, Cloud is grateful for McGinty’s role as an advocate and mentor in a world where motivation for young female athletes isn’t as ubiquitous as McGinty would make it seem for his charges.

“It’s a tough world in general for girls and young females, but when you have such a positive role model and a great man who tells you that you can do anything you want and empowers you, your celling is limitless,” Cloud said. “… He opened up that avenue for greatness for us.”

Hogan’s task now turns to finding a replacement to lead the girls basketball team, an unenviable task.

“I don’t think you find somebody to replace him,” Hogan said. “It’s amazing when you sit there, and I was typing up his bio of all the wins he’s had, even at Carroll the success he’s had. We’re going to have to go out and find the next best coach that’s going to have to come in and start fresh and build their own program.”

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