Coworkers at his Bethesda law firm knew it was football season when Jeff Van Grack would begin showing up to the office at 5 a.m.
In addition to heading up Lerch, Early & Brewer’s Community Association law practice, Van Grack relished his duties as a volunteer football coach at two local high schools, including Bethesda-Chevy Chase — his alma mater. So starting in late summer, Van Grack would show up extra early to get a full day of work in before heading off to afternoon practice.
On the eve of its first practices of the 2014 season, the B-CC football team will hold a meeting and memorial for Van Grack in the B-CC auditorium on Tuesday afternoon.
Van Grack was the team’s leadership consultant and special teams coach for four years after spending the previous 12 seasons at Northwest High School in Germantown, where the team won a state title in 2004. Among Van Grack’s contributions were the B-CC football team’s offseason Leadership Program and the creation of an annual scholarship awarded to the football player with the highest GPA.
“I have always told myself that I got into teaching and coaching because of the people. I can’t help but feel that by ‘pressing on’ in this situation we are missing an opportunity to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of a great person,” wrote B-CC head coach Josh Singer in a message to players. “We will stay together today as a family talking about Coach JVG until the last kid wants to leave.”
Van Grack graduated from B-CC in 1971 before heading to the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore Law School.
He founded Lerch, Early & Brewer’s Community Association practice, according to the firm. The practice was dedicated to representing community and homeowner associations, condominiums and housing cooperatives around the Washington area.
His other passion, though, was football. He began as a scout for Northwest High School. In its remembrance of Van Grack, Lerch, Early & Brewer wrote about Van Grack’s pride in his work with Eby Kalantar, a Northwest High School player who went on to play at Gettysburg College, get his law degree in 2011 and end up practicing law nearby in Bethesda.
Funeral services were held for Van Grack on Tuesday morning. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.