Tamalpais Football History Highlights

Players from Tamalpais of Mill Valley get ready to break their huddle in recent game. Photo: VarsityPix.com.

Players from Tamalpais of Mill Valley get ready to break their huddle in recent game. Photo: VarsityPix.com.

The Marin County school is well over 100 years old and hasn’t had much success in football with wins and losses, but a QB from there once held the state single-game passing record for 21 years. And there may not be a school with such a colorful cast of head coaches. This is the seventh school of the summer in which we have compiled its all-time football scores archive.

Up next in this series: King City. We’ve already done Carmel and Palma from the Monterey area and will have Pacific Grove coming up soon as well. For more on the Cal-Hi Sports football archives project and how we can help your school, CLICK HERE. Note: One doesn’t have to be the football coach or AD to order this work. It can be presented to any school as a gift.


If one believes in the theory that coaching stability is perhaps the No. 1 factor in a school’s football success, then one school that perhaps confirms that theory is Tamalpais of Mill Valley.

Since the first reported football score from 1910, it appears that there is only one head coach who’s been at the top of the football program for four years or more so it’s a good sign that current head coach Jon Black is starting his sixth season.

Tamalpais has one of the most distinctive entry points of any high school in California.

Tamalpais has one of the most distinctive entry points of any high school in California, perhaps the nation.

Tamalpais, known as Tam to locals for many years, only went 3-7 last season, but has had a winning record since 2009 and has beaten its rivals from San Rafael five times in a row for the first time, including last year’s 53-6 victory.

Most of the school’s football history, however, hasn’t been positive. Due to struggles in the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s and with just one winning decade (52-51-1 in the 1990s), Tam could actually lose its 500th game this upcoming season.

Still, some of those who’ve been a head coach at Tam have been very impactful in football in other ways.

In 1934, Roy Riegels was the coach. And yes, this is the same Roy Riegels of Cal who infamously ran the wrong way to score a touchdown in the 1929 Rose Bowl. He coached the team for just one season and went 0-3-1 in reported games.

Despite just being there one year, Riegels still encouraged Tam multi-sport athlete Sam Chapman to go to Cal where he led the Golden Bears to the 1938 Rose Bowl title. Chapman later went on to play in the major leagues for many years with the Philadelphia Athletics.

In 1980, a winless Tam team was coached by former NFL player Dave Meggysey. To say that team probably learned a lot despite the scoreboard is an understatement. Meggysey had earlier written a book, “Out Of Their League,” that was perhaps the first real inside look at what being a pro football player is all about. Meggysey later became a key figure in the NFL players’ union movement.

Two other former NFL players who were coaches at Tam were Willie Hector (1966-1968) and Mike Davlin (1969-1972).

In Hector’s first season, in a game against Novato that Tam won 38-25, senior quarterback Steve Woodward went nuts by passing for 546 yards. It was such a big deal because no one in Northern California or in the state for that matter had ever thrown for 500 yards or more in a game before. Woodward’s record also lasted for 21 years until 1987 when Perry Klein from Palisades of Pacific Palisades threw for 562 in a game vs. Los Angeles Jordan.

During the 1989-90 school year, Tamalpais students and administrators then made the move to change the school’s nickname from Indians to Red-Tailed Hawks. It was one of the first schools in the nation to make that switch.

It’s also impossible in writing about the Red-Tailed Hawks not to mention that while football hasn’t been a strength they do have CIF Division IV state title in their history in boys basketball (2000) and that they have a drama department that has to be one of the best in the nation.

Among those who’ve come from Tam in the arts have included the legendary Tupac Shakur plus actors Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls), Kathleen Quinlan and Courtney Thorne-Smith. The radio voice of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Gross, and the current manager of the Cincinnati Reds, Bryan Price, also are Tam grads.

Here are some other Tamalpais football records that the school has been sent courtesy of this archive initiative:

1920s: 26-37-10

1930s: 19-32-12

1940s: 32-35-3

1950s: 40-40-6

1960s: 40-43-4

1970s: 28-65-3

1980s: 29-67-0

1990s: 52-51-1

2000s: 24-89-1 (not including one win by forfeit)

2010s: 32-32-0


326 WINS, 496 LOSSES, 41 TIES*

*Note: One forfeit win not included. Including that result, 2000s record would be 25-88-1 and all-time would be 327-495-25.

(Based on half-win, half-loss for tie)

Best Records For Single Season
8-0 – 1951
7-1 – 1947
7-1-1 – 1962
7-2 – 1965
7-2-1 – 1925

Worst Records For Single Season
0-10 – 1976
0-10 – 1980
0-10 – 2002
0-10 – 2007
0-9 – 1971

Records Against Notable Opponents
35-30-1 VS. Drake (San Anselmo)
23-28-2 VS. Terra Linda (San Rafael)
33-51-5 VS. San Rafael
15-39-0 VS. Novato
19-40-1 VS. Marin Catholic (Kentfield)
7-38-1 VS. San Marin (Novato)
Notes: The first reported score for game vs. San Rafael we have is from 1910. The rivalry has been continuous since World War II years. From 1973 through 1997, Tam had a 0-24-1 winless streak against San Marin. There was a tie in 1978 and the streak didn’t end until a 21-0 win in 1998.

Most Points Scored (Single Game)
62 VS. Terra Linda (San Rafael) 1994
59 VS. Terra Linda (San Rafael) 1993
57 VS. Lincoln (San Francisco) 2000
57 VS. Galileo (San Francisco) 2014
56 VS. Galileo (San Francisco) 2008
56 VS. San Rafael 2014
55 VS. Analy (Sebastopol) 1927
55 VS. Balboa (San Francisco) 2015

Most Lopsided Wins
62-2 VS. Terra Linda (San Rafael) 1994
57-0 VS. Galileo (San Francisco) 2014
56-0 VS. Galileo (San Francisco) 2008
56-0 VS. San Rafael 2014
55-0 VS. Analy (Sebastopol) 1927
53-0 VS. San Rafael 1950
59-6 VS. Terra Linda (San Rafael) 1993

Most Points Allowed (Single Game)
87 VS. Vallejo 1954
64 VS. El Cerrito 2013
63 VS. Petaluma 1952
63 VS. Northgate (Walnut Creek) 2007
60 VS. Justin-Siena (Napa) 2004
59 VS. Redwood (Larkspur) 2001
59 VS. Novato 2007
59 VS. San Marin (Novato) 2007
58 VS. El Molino (Forestville) 1980

Most Lopsided Losses
63-0 VS. Petaluma 1952
63-0 VS. Northgate (Walnut Creek) 2007
87-25 VS. Vallejo 1954
59-0 VS. Redwood (Larkspur) 2001
59-0 VS. Novato 2007
64-8 VS. El Cerrito 2013
55-0 VS. Novato 2005
54-0 VS. Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 2015

Longest Winning Streaks
10 – 1950-1952 (won last game, then 8-0 season, then won first game of 52 when streak ended)
Note: There are no other win streaks of nine or more.

Longest Losing Streaks
19 – 2004-2006 (lost last two, then 0-10 season, then 0-7 before win)
14 – 1979-1981 (lost last game, then 0-10 season, then 0-3 before win)
12 – 2006-2008 (lost last game, then 0-10 season, then first game of 2008 before streak stopped)

Remember, any school in the state or a fan/supporter of any school in the state can have this research completed in a customized fashion in return for a reasonable fee. For details, CLICK HERE.

Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens also contributed to this post. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at markjtennis@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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One Comment

  1. Andy Spafford
    Posted September 21, 2023 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Mike Davlin also coached Tam varsity football from 1982 to 1984. In 1983 they went 7-3 (5-2 in MCAL play), their best record in 17 years, and their first winning season since 1975. I was the statistician for those teams (and in 1981).

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