Red states, blue states; the state of politics.
Red suspenders, blue suspenders … the identifying apparel worn on the sidelines by basketball coach Bob McKenney.
He swapped red for blue upon leaving Jamesville-DeWitt after 19 seasons to take over at Bishop Grimes in 2015.
Bob is among the most decorated high school basketball coaches in the state. A product of Canton High, where he played with former Syracuse guard Hal Cohen, McKenney’s scholastic teams have won more than 550 games in Vermont and New York.
Coaching J-D from 1996 to 2015, his teams won five New York State Championships, including an incredible run of four in a row. They also captured two State Federation titles and one of his teams ran the table, going 29-0.
Beginning in 1999, his teams won 13 straight league titles.
In his first season at Grimes, the Cobras won 23 games, the Section III Class B crown and reached the New York State semifinals.
McKenney was twice named New York State Coach of the Year.
During half the time his Red Rams’ teams were winning games and titles — from 1999-2009 — Bob did double duty, serving as Athletic Director at Onondaga Community College.
He has coached some of the area’s best players, among them Andy Rautins, Brandon Triche, Dajuan Coleman and Tyler Cavanaugh. Many of his former scholastic players serve on the staff of Mac’s Hoop Star Basketball Camp, which Bob runs.
While not every move among one’s coaching travels is necessarily seamless, McKenney managed to navigate around critical bumps in the road in 2015 and came out on top. Community support and that of his players gave him a needed boost.
He’s in the top five among active winningest schoolboy coaches in New York State.
Now — before he reaches the 600-victory plateau and perhaps coaches another championship team, sporting those blue suspenders — Bob McKenney becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2017.
Photo: Scott Schild