Coach Bill McTaggart Wins His 500th Career Game


Anna Gayley

Coach Bill McTaggart talks to the referee.

Lauren Koch, Sports Editor

Bill McTaggart is entering his 23rd year as the City High girls basketball coach. In early December, he led the girls to victory against Cedar Rapids Jefferson, earning his 500th career win as a basketball coach. McTaggart explains what 500 wins means to him. 

“It means I’ve been around a long time. I’ve had a lot of talented boys and girls that I’ve had the opportunity to coach.” 

McTaggart began his coaching career as a boys coach in Texas. In six seasons, Coach McTaggart earned 116 wins. McTaggart then moved back to his hometown of Iowa, and began his career as the girl’s basketball head coach at City High. He led the girls to a state championship in 2008, and has taken the girls to 11 additional appearances at the state tournament. 

To McTaggart, being a coach is not just about the sport, it’s about building relationships with the players too. 

“You have impacts on student athletes’ lives, the memories that will carry over, and the lessons in life that will help them after basketball.”

Coming in with a number eight pre-season ranking, the girls basketball team has risen to an even greater ranking. Upsetting Waterloo West early on in the season, the girls improved to a number two class 5A ranking. Now with a record of ten wins and zero losses, McTaggart recounts why he believes the team has found early success this year. 

“I think they believe in one another and keep getting better week by week. The sky’s the limit, because I don’t think we’ve played our best basketball yet. I think they’re togetherness has been a huge asset to being successful”. 

City High has outscored their opponents 721-504 so far this season. 

Senior captain Andie Westlake is entering her fourth year as a member of the City High girls basketball team. Westlake comments on Coach McTaggart’s main focuses that have helped the team find success. 

“One of McTaggart’s biggest focuses this season is getting the ball inside more offense. Especially with Bella now, he emphasizes getting it the paint, because the three-pointers are a shot we’re always going to have. Getting it inside helps get our offense moving”, said Andie Westlake. 

Senior Bella Cooley transferred from Texas this year. Now a varsity starter, the 6’3 center leads the team in blocks. While City High has proven their offense dominance, Coach McTaggart has also put emphasis on improving the Little Hawk’s defense. 

“I’d say another one of his focuses is working to better our defense overall, we do a lot of drills in practice to improve our rebounding and communication. By building on our defense, it can help us flow into our offense better”, said Andie Westlake. 

Looking ahead, McTaggart discusses his goals for the future. 

“Ultimately my goal is that we make it to the state tournament, win three games up there, and then win our conference. If we win our conference this year, that would be the ninth year in a row. But, I think if we take things day by day, those goals will take care of themselves.”