By Ken MacLeod
After helping Alabama coach Jay Seawell with recruiting in the summer of 2013, Mike McGraw decided to start jotting down some notes about what being a collegiate golf coach was all about and his goals for the profession.
About capturing more than 500 pages of handwritten thoughts, McGraw took the advice of a peer and decided to turn his habit into a book. The result, Better Than I Found It, My Life in Coaching, is on sale now at www.betterthanifoundit.com.
McGraw, now the head coach at Baylor where he led the Bears to their second win of the season Saturday in The All American in Humble, Texas, said he wanted to write a book that would both be a guide for current coaches while showing outsiders the full gamut of issues dealt with by college coaches.
“I know some people think we’re just guys who get to travel to great places and hang out with 20-year-old superstars,” McGraw said. “This was really continuing my dad’s (Gervis McGraw) theme of truly to help coaches in my profession start thinking about ways we can all be better. I would like it to be viewed as one of the most respected professionals anywhere.”
McGraw takes the readers through his career, including the ups and downs at Oklahoma State from 2006 until being fired by Mike Holder in 2013, his remarkable comeback as an assistant for national champion Alabama in 2014 and on into his current career at Baylor.
Much of the book, however, is anecdotal evidence of McGraw’s coaching philosophies and the impact a coach can have on talented and sometimes temperamental young players.
“We’re here to help them get to a better place in life,” McGraw said. “These are some of the things I think can help. We don’t coach that many PGA Tour champions. Most of the guys we’re helping prepare for life.”
McGraw weaves in stories of famous and not-so-famous former players to illustrate his points and takes a good hard look at his methods as he evolves from his early years at Oklahoma State into the coach he is at Baylor today.
McGraw said he does his journaling by hand because it both helps him remember and the emotion and impetus for his writings is retained. He began the writing process in June and worked steadily through Thanksgiving before taking a break and finishing up early in the new year.
As for purchasing the book, McGraw notes that if the website indicates at anytime that it is sold out, there is a link on there to email him and he will take care of the order, as the site has limits for the first month for a first-time author.