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Coach O’Grady gets inducted into Hall of Fame

September 18, 2008

UW-River Falls head football coach John O’Grady was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame on April 5, 2008.

“Anytime you’re inducted into a hall of fame of anything it’s a great honor and John is well deserving,” said UWRF Athletic Director Rick Bowen. “It’s a great honor for him and the institution.”

The WFCA honors coaches who have made outstanding achievements to the football program in the state of Wisconsin. The nomination for the Hall of Fame must be by a member of the Association.

“The WFCA is one of the best football associations in the state. It runs one of the largest clinics in the nation in Madison each year – last year about 3,500 people attended,” O’Grady said.  “I’ve been a member since the beginning of my football career.”

This is not the first time O’Grady has been nominated into the WFCA Hall of Fame – the first time he turned down his nomination. 

“I declined the first time because I felt it wasn’t the culmination of my career yet,” O’Grady said.

O’Grady is a UWRF alumnus and played linebacker for the Falcons from 1972-75. During that time he earned varsity letters and was voted most dedicated player by his teammates in 1975.  O’Grady was team captain in 1975 when the Falcons won their first WIAC title in 18 years.

While attending UWRF he earned an undergraduate degree in physical education in 1979 and his master’s degree in supervision and instructional leadership from UWRF in 1982.

After graduation, O’Grady became UWRF student-assistant coach of linebackers, secondary and special teams from 1976-80. From 1981-82 he was a part-time assistant coach for UW-Madison.  He had tenure at Kent State University in Ohio from 1983-84 as the offensive coordinator and the special teams coordinator. He returned to Madison in 1985 for two more seasons coaching offensive line and special teams and then spent two years at Miami University of Ohio.

O’Grady returned to his alma mater in 1989 when he was hired as head coach at UWRF.

His accomplishments include coaching the WIAC Championship team in 1998 at two National Collegiate Athletic Association playoff teams in 1995 and 1996, head coach of five national rushing leading teams and 99 percent graduation rate of football players who have played for four years.  O’Grady was also Wisconsin State University Conference George Chryst Memorial Coach of the Year in 1995.

O’Grady has contributed to football in the state of Wisconsin for over 30 years. The 2008 football season will be his 20th as head football coach making him the longest standing coach in the program’s history.

“He has a lot of experience and knows what he’s doing.” Falcon Derek Aukes said. “I’m really excited for the season.”