Not everybody gets to stand next to their heroes, but that became the reality for SRU women’s basketball head coach Bobby McGraw on September 8th, when he was inducted into the Mars high school hall of fame.
“My hero in life, Scott Lang, who tragically passed away because of a heart attack at 41, that’s the one person that makes me so proud to have my name by in the Mars hall of fame,” McGraw said. “It’s the biggest honor I’ve ever received.”
McGraw graduated from Mars in 1990, the same high school that his parents and siblings graduated from. McGraw was a solid basketball player for Mars, but it was his accomplishments after he graduated that make his narrative special.
Before chasing his dreams to become a basketball coach, McGraw served the citizens of the United states in two different fields, being a Marine corps military police officer, and a Pennsylvania State trooper.
“There are definitely some days I don’t miss being in that business,” McGraw said, “because of some of the things I saw.”
McGraw began his coaching career at Karns City high school and Freeport high school before he made the leap to collegiate coaching at La Roche college. McGraw was an assistant coach when the Red hawks made their first ever NCAA Division III tournament appearance, and also compiled a 44-12 record during McGraw’s time there.
Now approaching his fourth year as Rock head coach, McGraw has already turned the Rock women’s program around, leading SRU in 2015-16 to their most wins in a decade.
“I learned then and there [at Mars] that without hard work, you are never going to accomplish anything in life,” McGraw said. “I cannot tell you how many times we broke into the high school and middle school to work out in the gym at midnight or one in the morning.”
McGraw is never one to speak about himself, as he credits the advice of friends and member’s of his community with the success that he has had thus far in his coaching career.
“I learned early on that you can want something all that you want, but without hard work, your want and your wishes will not work.”
While everybody certainly carries some fondness for their hometown and upbringing, McGraw contends that Mars Is a special place, and that is what helped him achieve what he has thus far.
“There is a reason that faculty members and coaches have been in that school district for decades,” McGraw said. “A concrete example is that my middle school and high school physical education teachers were at the induction ceremony, they were the ones who first taught me that nothing is handed to you in life.”
From a state trooper conducting investigations to en established PSAC coach, Bobby McGraw has certainly chased his dreams, and believes anyone else can as well with hard work.
“When you have a passion and you have a goal, if you do not one day wake up and decide to put everything into that path less traveled, it won’t work. You can’t just tell yourself what you want to do, you have to have the guts and the will to make that a reality, not a dream.”