SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Bishop Grimes school community giving longtime basketball coach Bob McKenney a birthday surprise Wednesday afternoon, while McKenney undergoes treatment for breast cancer.
It truly was a birthday surprise like no other.
“I didn’t expect anything like that from them,” said Bob McKenney, basketball coach at Bishop Grimes High School.
An emotional, yet happy day for the hall-of-fame basketball coach.
“The Bishop Grimes family has been my second family now for eight years, so,” said McKenney.
A majority of that second family wore the color pink to support coach McKenney during his battle with breast cancer. About 20 students, boys and girls shaved their heads in solidarity, as students, faculty and staff cheered them on, letting McKenney know they’ve got his back.
“It’s fantastic support and maybe we will raise male breast cancer awareness through all this, I don’t know. But it’s just been unbelievable,” said McKenney.
Students with the National Honor Society say they have been planning coach McKenney’s birthday celebration since the end of Christmas break.
“This is a way for the whole school to be there and that’s why we did the pink out too just to keep the motivation up as the basketball season keeps going on” said Hannah Kinne, senior at Bishop Grimes and member of National Honor Society.
“My brother and my cousin played sports for him and they said he was a really good coach,” said Maddie Helmer, freshman at Bishop Grimes High School.
Not only did students shave their heads, but also raised $6,000 through the school fundraiser. Nothing but pure love for coach McKenney.
“There’s not many students in this school so like everyone kind of knows everyone, so it brings you together when something happens,” said Helmer.
“People ask when I am having a bad day why do you come in because it’s where I choose to be it’s the people I like to be around,” said McKenney.
The 64-year-old was diagnosed in the fall. he had surgery and is going through chemotherapy. He refuses to take a break. In fact, he’s only missed two days of work since this battle started, one day for his surgery and then one day with the flu.