JAMES MC GRATH


Inducted in 2003


Coaching Career: Skaneateles High School, Nottingham High School, Jamesville-DeWitt High School

It’s 1991. A high school basketball coach suffers a heart attack. Radio, television and newspaper sports reporters are all over the story like a cold sweat. What’s the big deal? The coach happens to be James "Duke" McGrath, a young man who has achieved legendary status among his peers and the Central New York sports press. He’s a guy fans admire, respect and love. Prayers flow into Duke’s hospital room. They work. Duke pulls out another one at the buzzer.

Duke McGrath. Winner. Twenty-three seasons stomping the hardwoods at Skaneateles, Jamesville-DeWitt and Nottingham high school. Winning Sectional titles at all three schools, which lead to two Federation state titles. Danny Schayes, Jason Buchanan and Dorsey Levens all played for Duke during his coaching career.

Prior to McGrath’s coronary, Nottingham had won five consecutive Onondaga High School League Metro titles, four Section III Class B Championships and two states Class B public and federation titles.

McGrath’s coaching career began in 1968 at Skaneateles High School. From 1971 to 1981 he coached at Jamesville-Dewitt. After a four-year hiatus from coaching, he resumed his coaching career and completed a 359-120 record when he finally hung up his whistle.

In 1998, McGrath was inducted into LeMoyne College’s Gold Wave Hall of Fame honoring his scholastic coaching career as well as his service to the Dolphins as an assistant basketball coach. Also, J
im received the Blind Men and Criers annual “John Arcaro Coaches Award” given to the high school coach who have been recognized for outstanding success in their sport.

In 2004, Jim was inducted into the New York State Public High School Basketball Hall of Fame and 2005 the Jamesville-DeWitt High School Hall of Fame.

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