Louis G. Chacos was 150-35 in his
career as a football coach.
(Family Photo - Family Photo)
Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, January 7, 2008
Louis George Chacos, 88, who enjoyed a successful high school and college football coaching
career and who went on to become chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department
at what was Montgomery Junior College, died Dec.28 at his home in Annapolis. He had
pneumonia because of congestive heart failure. Dr. Chacos, who was known as Coach and lived
in Bethesda most of his life, garnered a record of 150 wins and 35 defeats over two decades. At
Charlotte Hall Military Academy, where he began coaching in 1946, he earned a reputation as a
"giant killer" by taking his squad of barely two dozen players to compete against some of the
most powerful teams in Virginia, Maryland, Washington and Pennsylvania. He posted a 20-4
He went on to bring his distinct style of coaching to Central High School, his alma mater, and
Roosevelt High School in the District, Wheaton High School and what is now Montgomery
As a coach, Dr. Chacos devised his own strategies, which he passed along to his players. A
1965 Washington Post article described him as a "coaching iconoclast because of his
disregard for some of the 'basic principles of football."
'"He didn't believe in having a playbook," said a son, Andrew Chacos of Chapel Hill, N.C. "He
believed it was better to have a few well-done plays."
Dr. Chacos possessed a steady demeanor that instilled confidence in his players, his son said.
"He never cursed and rarely raised his voice," Andrew Chacos said. "He considered it a
significant personal weakness of any coach that could not teach or communicate with his
players in a civil manner."
Dr. Chacos was born in Richmond and grew up in Washington, where he was a member of
Central's winning football and track teams for four years. In track and field, he became known as
the "Iron Man" in 1937 when he set the record for most points scored by a single athlete at a
District invitational meet. He was a graduate of the class of 1938.
At the University of Maryland, he was a sprinter on the track team and played football as a single wing tailback and safety. He graduated in
1943, married his high school sweetheart and entered the Army.
After leaving the Army in 1945, he enrolled at Columbia University. He received a master's degree in education in 1946. In 1973, he
received a PhD in education administration from the University of Sarasota.
With his wins at Charlotte Hall, he became much sought after. Starting in 1949, he spent two seasons at Central High before moving in
1951 to Roosevelt, where he coached three seasons. He was named Coach of the Year in 1951 and 1953 by the D.C. public schools.
In 1954, he was recruited to head the athletic department and coach football at the brand-new Wheaton High School. Four years later, the
affable coach joined Montgomery Junior College in the same roles.
Over the next 10 years, he coached three undefeated teams, numerous Junior College All-Americans, and was named Coach of the Year
in 1967 by the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX.
He retired from coaching in 1968 and became chairman of the Health and Physical Education Department. He built a curriculum that
eventually served 15,000 students on three campuses, hired one of the first female directors of athletics for women and designed
dual-purpose athletic facilities to serve students and the community.
Dr. Chacos devoted one night a week to pursue his love of music by singing four-part harmony with his barbershop quartet, the
Sentimental Gentlemen. He was also a charter member of the Montgomery County Chapter of the Society for the Preservation and
Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America and president of the Ancient and Harmonious Society of Woodshedders.
He was president of the American Association of College Professors, chairman of the board of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase YMCA and on
the Maryland Governor's Commission on Physical Fitness.
He was active at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church and was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Rock Creek Council.
His wife of 56 years, Frances B. Chacos, died in 1999. A son, Peter Chacos, died in 1955.
Survivors, in addition to his son, include three other children, Donald Chacos of Riva, John Chacos of Arnold and Mary Grace Chacos
Faircloth of Severna Park; a brother, Nicholas G. Chacos of Bethesda; and seven grandchildren
By Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb