Jamie Plunkett has guided the Meadville Bulldogs for 35 years. He’s led the team to eight state titles and decades of success.
On Tuesday, he picked up his 1,100th win.
What was Chief’s immediate reaction to his newest milestone?
“Well, I’ve been around a long time.”
He isn’t wrong. Longevity is necessary to win as many games as Chief has, but he’s also extremely good at what he does. Although he’d likely rather talk about anything other than himself.
Never a fan of being in the limelight, Plunkett shifted focus to the kids he’s coached for more than three decades.
“It’s the kids, the families and the commitment with coaches that make it fun. After 35 years, it’s still a lot of fun. I’ll probably look back on it after I’m all done and think about milestones, but for now it’s all about the season and getting ready for the next game.”
If the players were nervous about getting Chief a win they sure didn’t show it. The ‘Dogs scored early and often.
In 2017 when Plunkett had 999 career wins and was on the cusp of 1,000, the team tied a game they expected to win. The Bulldogs would get Chief his grand a few days later, but it was something this year’s team didn’t want to repeat.
Senior captain Michael Mahoney knew what happened four years ago and wanted to avoid the same outcome.
“I know in the past they were supposed to win and ended up tying. We didn’t want that to happen and wanted to get it done,” Mahoney said. “We were more anxious than nervous, but we were ready to go. We were ready to get the win for Chief.”
Mahoney scored the game’s first goal. He added a second goal later in the game to go with three assists.
It was a team effort as five different players scored a goal and Sam Coppola earned a shutout in goal. It was the type of performance Plunkett expects from his squad.
What’s next for Plunkett? At this rate he should pick up his 1,200th win in about four years. If you ask him though, he would say preparing for whatever opponent is next on the schedule — and that’s exactly why he’s found so much success.