McGraw reflects on Golf Coaches’ Hall of Fame induction, credits father

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Mike McGraw

Baylor men’s golf head coach Mike McGraw was inducted into the 2016 Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame Class Monday in Las Vegas.

McGraw is one of six members of the 2016 Hall of Fame class, joining Vince Clark, Tim Poe, Jay Seawell, Mike Small and Dick Spybey. Current OSU coach Alan Bratton and other representatives from McGraw’s time at Oklahoma State were in attendance.

McGraw gave a heartfelt induction speech crediting his father Gervis McGraw, longtime head professional at Ponca City Country Club, with instilling the values he’s lived by and used in his own career, including the pursuit of excellence, earning your way and being responsible.

“My dad didn’t talk much, but when he said something you listened,” McGraw told Golf Oklahoma Wednesday. “He never disciplined with emotion. Instead, there was always a lesson to be learned from his discipline. It was, ‘here’s the standard, you didn’t meet it, let’s do this instead.’  It was a learning opportunity and I try to do the same with my players.”

In the audience were three of McGraw’s high school players from his early years in Edmond, including Abe Cornish, Chris Rouk and Rob Land, currently the director of golf at Karsten Creek. His sisters Sherrie McGraw and Patty McGraw Coatney were there along with Patty’s husband Chuck, the general manager and director of golf at Stillwater Country Club. Also long-time friend Jeff McMillian and his wife Robin. Current Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton and OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder were in attendance.

A three-time national champion, McGraw is in his third season leading Baylor and his 12th season as a Division I head coach. He has 19 years of experience coaching at the Division I level, including eight seasons as Oklahoma State men’s golf head coach, and he’s led teams to the NCAA Championship in 17 of those 19 seasons. In addition to three national titles, more than half of McGraw’s 19 years have ended with top-five finishes at the NCAA Championship, including 10 times in the top five and three times finishing as national runner-up.

In just his second season at Baylor, McGraw led the Bears to their first NCAA Championship berth since 2010, where the Bears finished in 27th place.

Baylor advanced to the NCAA Kohler (Wis.) Regional, extending one of the nation’s longest active streaks with a 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bears mounted a back-nine comeback in the final round of the regional, combining for 17 birdies to finish tied for fourth and earn one of five NCAA Championship spots awarded at the regional.

BU placed 27th at the NCAA Championship, marking the fifth-best end-of-season finish in program history. The 2015-16 Baylor squad claimed tournament titles at the Oak Hills Invitational and the Border Olympics, finished second in The Maxwell Intercollegiate and went on to record nine top-five finishes in 13 tournaments.

McGraw, 56, said he is deeply honored to be included. One of his childhood heroes was legendary OSU coach Labron Harris Sr.

“To be recognized with these names is amazing,” McGraw said. “I hope I get to come back every year for the next 10 or 15 years and celebrate.”

McGraw led Oklahoma State to five Big 12 titles and was named Big 12 Coach of the Year five times in his eight seasons as men’s golf head coach. The Cowboys won 30 total tournaments and advanced to the NCAA Championships seven times, recording five top-five national finishes during his tenure. His players earned 30 individual medalist honors and he produced 21 PING All-Americans while he was men’s team head coach at OSU.

Regarded as one of the nation’s top recruiters, McGraw has produced numerous PGA Tour players, including Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan, Charles Howell III, Morgan Hoffman and Casey Wittenberg.

McGraw is also a legendary high school coach in Oklahoma. In his four years leading the program at Edmond North High School, McGraw led the team to three state titles. The team claimed titles in 36 of its 46 events played and finished as runners-up seven times. He served as assistant coach at Edmond Memorial High School from 1987 through 1993, helping the Bulldogs reach six state championships in seven seasons.

As a player, McGraw was a three-year letterwinner at Central Oklahoma. He earned honorable mention All-America recognition after finishing 16th at the 1981 NAIA Championship. A 1982 graduate of Central Oklahoma with a degree in broadcast communications, McGraw married his wife, Pam, in 1996.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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