New London - Pat Meggers, Coast Guard Academy wide receiver, was joking Wednesday about being the lowest ranking member among his former Connecticut Nike Elite boys' basketball teammates and coaches.
One teammate, Bristol's Aaron Hernandez, is now a tight end for the New England Patriots.
Meanwhile, the coach, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, has seven national championships and led the United States to a gold medal-winning performance at this summer's Olympic Games in London. Auriemma's son Michael played for Nike Elite team, which was coached by Auriemma and Meggers' dad, Tom, a former standout basketball player at Boston College.
"I think he loved it," Meggers said of Auriemma coaching the then-14-16-year-old boys. "It was kind of a little bit of a release for him to let loose and coach boys, maybe let into us a little more. We went all over the place."
Lest Meggers underestimate himself on the list of achievements, however ... none of those other notables has ever attempted to make it through Coast Guard Academy's Swab Summer. Or been through a year at the New Mexico Military Institute. Or caught a touchdown pass against the Merchant Marine Academy.
"It's in-state. I wanted to play athletics. I hounded coach (Bill) George to play football here," said Meggers, who is from Manchester and attended high school at Loomis Chaffee in Windsor.
"Me and my dad visited the campus at the beginning of high school. We watched The Guardian together (a movie featuring the Coast Guard and starring Kevin Costner. It was like, 'That's pretty cool.' I started calling the coaches."
Now, Meggers, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, is one game into his senior season at Coast Guard, having moved from running back to wide receiver, more of a natural position for him.
He's starting for the first time since his freshman year, when he started six games at running back, scoring his first two career touchdowns in a Week 5 victory over Mass. Maritime Academy.
As a sophomore, Meggers suffered a knee injury. Last season he found himself behind the lightning-quick Tyler Hames at running back.
He still has some catching up to do at receiver, as the Bears (0-1) head to play at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at noon Saturday.
But Meggers, with Auriemma in the stands wearing a Coast Guard football hat on Saturday afternoon, caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jon Resch that pulled the Bears to within 23-20 of Merchant Marine.
Merchant Marine won 43-37, but not before Coast Guard piled up 410 yards offense, with Meggers and sophomores Collis Brown (two) and Blake Thompson all catching touchdown passes from Resch.
"I love it," Meggers said of playing receiver.
"Pat got caught in a little bit of a black void when he came here," George said. "We had a few receivers ahead of him; we've seemed to always have guys with a receiver-type build. We had Eric Gerken (who set the single-season receiving record with 70 catches last year) out there."
George said Meggers has an up side at receiver he hasn't even shown yet.
"It's his first year there. I expect Pat to improve each game at receiver," George said. "He's going to continue to get better in practice. I don't see him letting down. He's earning everything he got the hard way."
Not a bad resume at all.