Andy Borland is grateful for the twist of fate that brought a North Carolina native to Anne Arundel County.
Borland graduated from Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College in 1963 with a degree in physical education and began looking for a job as a teacher. If the Durham native had waited six months, he could have landed a job at a school in his home state, but instead opted for a position at Annapolis High as the pay was about $1,000 more.
Borland entered Annapolis High in March at the age of 23 and spent three months working alongside three respected teachers in Neville Leonard, Dick Peret and Mike Ballas. During this short time in Annapolis, he met a foreign language teacher named Katie Williams, who would become his wife within a year.
In fact, as Borland reflects on a remarkable career as a teacher, coach, and administrator, he cites failing at Duke University as a turning point in his life. After three years as a varsity wrestler, Borland was fired from his hometown university and went to work for Sears-Roebuck.
“It was the best thing that has ever happened to me because I got into Atlantic Christian and changed my major to physical education, which ultimately led me to Maryland,” Borland said.
Laramore knew from the start that Annapolis High had already hired another full-time gym teacher who would start the following fall. That person was Al Laramore, who would become a close friend and rival of Borland’s.
In fact, by the summer of 1963, Borland and Laramore were working together as managers of the Admiral Heights swimming pool. Al was dating Katie, whose roommate Dorothy would eventually marry Laramore.
“I was best man at Al’s wedding and he was best man at mine,” Borland said.
Laramore became a legendary figure in Annapolis and was inducted into the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements as a football, basketball, and lacrosse coach. Borland will join his friend on that august body when he is presented with the Bernie Walter Memorial Award for his long-standing, dedicated and exemplary service to Anne Arundel County Athletics.
Borland, who became a legendary figure in Severna Park High history during an illustrious 36-year tenure, will be honored during the 31st Annual Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet October 12 at The DoubleTree Hotel in Annapolis.
After the 1962-63 school year ended, Borland had the choice of teaching physical education at Annapolis Middle or transferring to Severna Park High, then only four years old.
“I went to Fred’s Restaurant and wrote the pros and cons of both places on a napkin,” Borland said. “I chose Severna Park High and am so glad I did. The rest is history.”
Initially, Borland served as an assistant soccer coach to George Roberts, an assistant in wrestling with George Keedy, and a head coach in outdoor athletics.
A few years later, Borland established the indoor track and field program at Severna Park, eventually leading the program to the 1973 Class AA State Championships.
Roberts, who was also athletic director at Severna Park High, was an important mentor to Borland. Roberts, who played football in Mississippi and North Carolina, took the young assistant under his wing.
“George Roberts was like a father to me and a man I really respected,” Borland said.
Roberts resigned as football coach after suffering a heart attack and was succeeded by his trusted assistant. Borland was the head coach from 1973 to 1988 and compiled a career record of 145-108.
At his retirement, Borland ranked third overall in Anne Arundel County history behind Laramore and Joe Papetti, another member of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame.
Borland owes its success as a football coach to a strong team of assistants including Russ Roberts, Bill Phebus, Mike Lafferty, Kevin McGrath, Dick Keck, Bob Ferguson, Jamie Bragg, Kevin Schiavone and Mark Frye Sr.
“Andy has that one critical quality that all good people possess – he’s a man of high character,” said Phebus, whom Borland has dubbed a “surrogate son.” “Andy is honest because the day is long and someone you can trust with your life.
“I couldn’t think of a better example for young people of how to live their lives than Andy Borland.”
Borland also replaced Roberts as athletic director, serving in that important role from 1977 to 1996. Severna Park High Athletics thrived under his stewardship, winning 42 state championships in those two decades.
Borland is grateful for the volunteer help of Frank Lafferty, who essentially served as assistant athletic director long before it became an official position in Anne Arundel County.
Jim Pitt served as chairman of the physical education department for most of Borland’s tenure, and served as baseball’s head coach from 1973 to 1999. Sharing an office with Borland for 26 years, he understood why the great man was loved by so many.
“I think Andy was as involved with kids as he was with anyone I’ve ever met. In particular, he’s been a great mentor to many young men,” Pitt said. “Andy communicates very well and has great leadership skills. It was obvious to everyone that he really cared about athletics at Severna Park and that every decision he made was to improve the overall program.”
Borland lived in two different houses within the Round Bay community before moving to his current residence on Point Somerset Lane in January 1999. After six decades at Severna Park, he has only fond memories of his adopted homeland.
“This is an absolutely wonderful community and Severna Park High was a special place. I was fortunate to have taught during the heyday of education and the kids I worked with at Severna Park High were just amazing,” he said.
For Borland, success on the field took a back seat to mentoring young people.
“Winning was important, but that’s not the top priority. In my opinion, the most important thing has always been to teach children the way of life,” he said.
Borland retired from the Anne Arundel County school system in June 1988 and has since devoted his time, effort, and energy to volunteer work. He is an active member of the Annapolis Woodworkers Guild, which produces 3,000 toys annually that are donated to underprivileged children in the county.
An active member of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, he was appointed Chair of the Capital Campaign to remodel the old YMCA property in the heart of Severna Park. Largely thanks to Borland’s leadership, connections, and reputation, $5.5 million was raised to build the Severna Park Community Center at Baltimore & Annapolis Boulevard.
Perry Shaner, retired pastor of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, marveled at Borland’s dedication and diligence in building the community center.
“There is no doubt that Andy, as one of Severna Park’s most prominent residents, gave the project a real boost. It was a lot easier to get people to donate their money or time,” Shaner said.
Shaner noted that Borland opened a Bible study course for men at Woods Memorial, just like his father did in Durham. It has grown and grown over the years to the point where a large crowd gathers for faith and fellowship every Sunday morning.
Shaner described Borland, who will celebrate his 83rd birthday on Monday, as a true celebrity to the entire Severna Park community.
“When you go to lunch with Andy, it’s difficult to eat and talk because people keep coming over to say hello and shake his hand,” Shaner said. “Andy is really unique. There will be no other like him.”
When: Wednesday 12 Oct
Where: Double Tree Hotel, Annapolis
Tickets: $50 each; $500 for a 10 seater table