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All-County Boys Basketball: Rayfield has helped turn around Gaels' program

March 30, 2013|By TIM KOELBLE | koelble@herald-mail.com
  • St. Maria Goretti's Amrit Rayfield is The Herald-Mail's 2012-13 Washington County Boys basketball Coach of the Year.
St. Maria Goretti's Amrit Rayfield is The Herald-Mail's 2012-13 Washington County Boys basketball Coach of the Year.

When Amrit Rayfield came to St. Maria Goretti three years ago, he knew his priority was to return the boys basketball program to a level of prominence it once held.

That first season, Rayfield experienced what had happened the five previous ones — a losing record — when the Gaels went 8-24.

But things began to turn around last year when Goretti went 19-13 and began to show a ray of hope that stretched into the powerful Baltimore Catholic League, where the Gaels had become an easy target.

This season, Rayfield coached the Gaels to a 21-13 campaign which included a 7-7 record in the BCL, whose coaches recognized him as the coach of the year.

Rayfield is also The Herald-Mail’s 2012-13 Washington County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

“It’s rewarding to get the honors, but it’s not what what I am in this game for,” Rayfield said. “These honors are for the whole program, all of the coaches ninth grade through varsity assistants at Goretti.

“It’s about all the work everyone has put in to get back to a level of respectability. It’s a reward to all the people involved.”

Rayfield is a native of Crisfield, Md., where he graduated from high school and played basketball for two years under his father and coach, Philip.

He went on to Davis & Elkins College, where he graduated in 1997 and was a four-year starter for the Senators.

His coaching career began quickly. He was an assistant at Davis & Elkins and then became head coach in 2000, a position he held until leaving after the 2008-09 season.

After spending a year in the private sector, it was back to the sidelines in the high school atmosphere.

“Our kids took in a lot of stuff, and we’re pretty picky about what we provide them,” Rayfield said in terms of basketball Xs and Os and what is coached at Goretti. “You try to treat the kids like they’re in a college prep program.”

Rayfield has had the good fortune in the past two winning seasons of bringing along talents such as Martin Geben and Tyrus Fleetwood and molding others into a unit that produced the first 20-plus win season since 2004-05, when the Gaels were 20-13. It was the most wins in a season since 2001-02, when Goretti went 24-11.

The recent success has helped leave a 47-game losing streak in the BCL — which ended in January 2012 — far in the rearview mirror.

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