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With his first year as Athletic Director in the books, Glen Grunwald reflects on a successful year for McMaster Athletics. Various championship banners finding their place on the walls of the David Braley Athletic Centre and corporate partnership announcements continue to place McMaster sports amongst the best in the country.
Grunwald is no stranger to the world of sports. He has previously served as general manager for the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks before finding his place here at McMaster.
Now, with the Marauders, his day-to-day involves everything from being in the office working out business deals to being in the stands cheering on the Maroon and Grey.
“Our mission here is to cultivate human potential through sport and recreation,” said Grunwald.
An area of improvement for the department under Grundwald’s guidance has been finances and partnerships. Building and maintaining a winning tradition here at Mac will bring more sponsorships.
Two of the most recent partnerships to have been announced are with BioSteel and Sheraton Hotel. Biosteel will be the official sports drink for the 2015-16 CIS season. Sheraton Hamilton Hotel will be the host hotel for all visiting teams.
“We are trying to partner with the right companies and also partner with community groups,” said Grunwald.
Aside from the business aspect, Grunwald has been involved with many community initiatives with the department. McMaster Athletics and Recreation invites schools in the city for home games, is a place for sports camps in the summer and student athletes spend a lot of time in the community engaging in volunteering.
“We are making a difference with people and in the community,” said Grunwald.
Just a few weeks ago, Grunwald and members of the McMaster Men’s Basketball team participated in a neighbourhood hoops event in the inner city Beasley community.
These moments and so many others have been made possible through McMaster Athletes Care, a program where our student athletes take part in valuable volunteer experiences that help build strong relationships in the local community where athletes can make connection and be role models.
“It’s a great culture here at McMaster across the board, it’s so fun to be around to see all of this energy and to see good things happening,” said Grunwald.
Though the year has been a memorable one for Grunwald witnessing many team wins along the way, his favourite was on his first day of the job: Sept. 1, 2014.
It was a football game at Ron Joyce Stadium where the McMaster Marauders battled it out against the Guelph Gryphons. It seemed like a game that was slipping out of the hands of the Marauders as they trailed Guelph 24-9 late in the third quarter. Things turned around for the team and quarterback Marshall Ferguson scored the game-winning touchdown.
“It was really exciting to be a part of that. It was my first day on the job and a huge win at home.”
Once a student athlete himself, Grunwald understands the work needed to foster excellence.
“My old college basketball coach, Bobby Knight at Indiana University always had a great saying: ‘Everybody wants to win, everybody wants to be successful, but few people are willing to do the work to prepare to be successful.’”
The preparation of student athletes creates an opportunity for championships. Athletes spend their summers training in the weight room, running on the track and do all the extra necessary steps to stay committed and be successful in both sport and in life.
There is no doubt that Glen Grunwald has added to the quality calibre of staff in the athletic department and with one year behind him, the future for Mac Athletics is a bright one.