We didn’t do any advance promotion, and truthfully, the run dates of our Norwich Sports Hall of Fame inductee articles crept up on me. Today, we publish the first of six articles highlighting the accomplishments of the 2015 class.
First up is 1946 Norwich graduate Don McGraw, written by Norwich graduate and retired NHS teacher, Don Chirlin. Like many young kids of his era, star athletes on the varsity teams were idolized and revered. McGraw was one of the best all-around athletes of the 1940s following closely in the footsteps of previous NHSSHOF inductee, Charles “Doc” Ulrichs.
As revealed in the article, McGraw was a close relative of legendary New York Giants baseball manager, John McGraw. It’s of little surprise that Don McGraw not only starred on the football field and basketball court, but particularly shined on the baseball diamond. An unfortunate injury – likely from his football playing days – cut McGraw’s likely pro baseball career short.
Earlier this week we printed a press release revealing the Section IV Athletics Hall of Fame selections with ties to Chenango County. Gaining induction Saturday will be Jeff Parker (Norwich), Craig Reynolds (Oxford), and Bob Conway (girls’ basketball coach).
Reynolds graduated well before my days here at the paper, in fact, I was a freshman in high school when he completed his playing days. I covered Parker his final two years of high school, and his status in the football program as the school’s all-time leading rusher cemented his credentials in my mind. With Conway, I have worked with him every season of my career, and I see no end in sight.
Conway, 58, is in his 33rd year as a varsity basketball coach, and his accomplishments continue to pile up. He took over a Mt. Upton program, one with no success to speak of – and one of the smallest enrollments in all of Section IV – and took it to the state championship game in his fifth season. When Mt. Upton merged with Gilbertsville, Conway moved on to Bainbridge-Guilford – another girls’ basketball program with no established history of success in the Susquenango Association.
In 22 years at the small Class C school, Conway has had just one losing season, won nine division titles, five league titles, one Section IV title, and multiple Section IV finals appearances. By no means is Bainbridge-Guilford a factory of high-level athletes that affords Conway premium talent to maintain the program’s success. Conway is adept at defining roles for players on his roster, while also loosening the reins for his marquis players.
In 33 years patrolling the sidelines, no area coach in any sport has won more games than Bob Conway. After Thursday night’s victory over Newfield, Conway has 485 career victories. Saturday afternoon at the Floyd L. Maines Memorial Arena will be a big day for Conway: His Bobcats will play for a sectional championship, then he’ll enter Section IV’s Hall of Fame along with the other inductees. Knowing Bob as a I do, his focus will be squarely on his team’s performance. But it would be a weekend to remember if Conway’s team can piggy-back a sectional title on top of the coach’s well-deserved individual honor.
Follow me on Twitter @PatrickLNewell