It could have been a song of pride as the Bulldogs were on route to rout the Edison Inventors to the tune of 87-48. But it was probably a farewell chant for Bulldogs’ head coach Charles Granby.
After 45 seasons platooning the sidelines for Campus Magnet, Granby is finally leaving the Bulldogs bench. And although the Bulldogs (4-10) didn’t show much bite this year, they barked loudly on Granby’s final home game. Campus Magnet’s top scorer, Nohah Vickers, dropped 54 points and dished 7 assists in the win.
“We just played together today and we were just motivated to give him a big win,” Vickers said. “We just wanted the last home game to be a good one, and a memorable one.”
Granby, 79, started teaching physical education at Campus Magnet in 1969 when it was called Andrew Jackson High School. He remained a teacher until 1996, but continued to coach because of his passion for basketball.
He is the winningest coach in PSAL history with 722 victories. He has taught basketball to thousands of teens over the years, and his teams have won 24 division titles, seven Queens championships and the coveted city title in 1985.
Granby himself played basketball at Bradley University, and was on the team when they won the National Invitational Tournament in 1960.
For his accomplishments, he was inducted in the New York State and New York City basketball hall of fames.
But this year Granby knew it was time.
“I just felt tired,” he said. “I’ve been here 45 years. It’s time to go.”
Despite all the trophies, honors and banners, many of which hang in the rafters of the Bulldogs home gym, what many appreciate is Granby’s mentor style that stretches beyond basketball.
His famed “ugly life” speech—without education everything in your life will be “ugly”— is given to players the day they walk in the gym. And even at his final home game, after fans dispersed and the lights in the gym turned off, Granby gave another lecture to his players.
He preached about the importance of going to college and not relying on basketball. He also told the boys to take care of their children when they become fathers.
Many past players hearing these speeches have experienced success, including Orlando Magic forward Kyle O’Quinn and newly elected Brooklyn City Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr.
“Dad is a father to everybody,” Granby’s daughter Robyn Granby-Poole said. “He’s not worried about the wins. He’s not thinking about that. He’s thinking about OK now your future is going to rely on (education) make sure you have this because basketball may come to an end.”
Now that basketball is coming to an end for him, Granby plans to relax and travel with his free time.
Granby’s successor hasn’t been named, but he’ll leave a lasting legacy for his replacement to look up to.
“It’s one of those things of who replaces the legendary coach?” said Gareth Robinson, the principal for the PSAL in the school. “For anything they do people who have been around in the community will wonder ‘oh well Granby wouldn’t have done it that way.’”
There will be a retirement party for Granby on April 26 at Jericho Terrace.