By Tim McGrath, Grandson of Fred H. McGrath
Nov. 23, 2016: On Tuesday. November 15 the 73rd Annual Fred H. McGrath Memorial Football Dinner was held at the Bronxville Field Club to honor this year's Bronxville High School varsity football team.
The tradition started back in 1943 when Fred H. McGrath decided to honor that year's team. His sons had all played for the Broncos, and Mr. McGrath had become one of the team's biggest fans. Although never having played football, he had fallen in love with the game because he felt that football, more than other sports, was important in the development of young men and taught them to win graciously and lose with dignity. That 1943 team had not won a game, but Mr. McGrath felt that they should be honored because they had worked as hard as other, more successful teams had.
Over the past 73 years, the McGrath Dinner has boasted some very prominent speakers, including former Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, former general manager of the Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts Bill Polian, former MLB player Jackie Robinson, and numerous college coaches and players.
This year's speaker was Bob Hyland. Bob graduated from Stepinac High School and attended Boston College, where he played on the football team. Upon graduating from BC, Bob was selected as the 9th overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers and Coach Vince Lombardi. Bob went on to become the only rookie to ever start for the famed Coach Lombardi and helped lead the Packers to win Super Bowl II. During Bob's 11-year NFL career, he also played for the New York Giants, Chicago Bears, and New England Patriots. Bob still resides in White Plains and is the owner of Bob Hyland's Sports Page Restaurant. The evening concluded with the traditional announcement of the captains for the following year's team. Coach Napolitano announced that the captains to lead the 2017 Broncos are Dillon James, Jeff Sargent, and Ben von Mehren.
Since Fred H. McGrath's death in 1954, his family has continued the tradition of hosting the varsity football team, school administrators, and present and former coaches. His son Robert W. McGrath, a former player and coach for the Broncos, his wife, Barbara, and their family have been the catalysts in keeping up this unique dinner.
Pictured here: Top: This year's Broncos with, seated L to R, Coach Napolitano, Roger Goodell, Bob and Bumpty McGrath, and Bob Hyland. Below: In the center, Bob Hyland, Roger Goodell, and Coach Napolitano, flanked by two McGrath brothers, Tim and Buzz.
Photos courtesy Tim McGrath