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McLean High hires Hall of Famer to coach girls basketball team

New team leader has won four past state championships

When Pat Deegan stepped down as the head coach of the Fairfax High School girls basketball team after eight seasons following the 2021-22 campaign, he didn’t rule out returning to the bench one day if the right job came along.

It did. When the head position as the girls varsity coach recently opened at McLean High School, Deegan applied, went through the regular interviewing process and eventually was hired. He takes over for Jen Sobota, who recently stepped down after 10 seasonS and winning more than 100 games to become the assistant director of student activities at McLean.

So Deegan returns to the head-coaching  ranks to continue what has been a long and accomplished career at that position. He previously was the girls head coach at three other public schools in Fairfax County – Madison, Westfield and Fairfax – and before that held the same spot at private-school Bishop O’Connell in Arlington.

Deegan’s four teams have won 758 games, four state championships (two private, two public), six Northern Region public-school crowns, double-digit district and conference titles, and he is a member of the Virginia High School League’s sports Hall of Fame for those many accomplishments.

Deegan coached Madison for 15 seasons, in which his Warhawks won two state crowns and six region titles, spent the next 11 seasons at Westfield, then after a two-year break returned for eight seasons at Fairfax.

“I am excited to be back,” Deegan said. “It’s a good situation because McLean has a group of good young players, Jen did a great job with that program, it’s in good shape, and we hope to continue what she did. The biggest things now is I have to get to know the players, which I’m looking forward to. McLean is in a fall league, so I can watch a lot of them play then.”

Deegan recently was introduced to the McLean players, and was impressed how they paid attention and listened.

“I didn’t see one player looking at their cell phone when I was speaking. That doesn’t happen a lot these days,” Deegan said.

McLean director of student activities Greg Miller said there were several strong applicants for the job.

“The energy and passion Pat brought to the interviews about coaching girls basketball was impressive, and stood out and that said it all,” Miller said. “When we told Pat he was hired, he was so excited to be back.”

Under Sobota, McLean won the Liberty District tournament championship last season. The team finished with an 18-8 record.

Practice for the 2023-24 season starts for McLean on Nov. 6. The season begins around Dec. 20.