Pat McGlynn’s coaching career began under unusual circumstances.
While living at the Carlisle Barracks in Cumberland County, where his father was stationed, McGlynn was forced to take over his father’s coaching position because of a medical issue.
There were just a few problems. It was his first time coaching, he was 15 years old and it was his older sister’s team.
Just as he did with the players on his York Ballers Amateur Athletic Union teams over the last 16 years, McGlynn found a way to get their attention and respect.
“My sisters were all older than me and they used to smack the hell out of me, but for some reason on the basketball court they actually listened,” McGlynn said. “It was really weird, but coaching them and all their friends, it was kind of fun.”
End of an era: Years later, after a career that spanned 36 years on the sideline, McGlynn decided to retire from coaching because of his own health issues. He said that he coached this year against his doctor’s orders while dealing with issues related to changing cholesterol medications.
McGlynn described a game in April when he had to grab onto an official during the game and sit down because of a change in his medication. At 53, McGlynn said he can only coach one way and that style is too demanding on his health.
“If I don’t coach a certain way — aggressive, adamant about what’s going on and encouraging — my kids might fall and just quit,” McGlynn said.
That coaching style is something that a number of his former players enjoyed, although it took some getting used to for some.
Jalen Gorham was a member of the York Ballers and a York Country Day standout before transferring to The MacDuffie School in Massachusetts. He recalled his favorite McGlynn memory.
At a tournament in 2018, with the game close in overtime, McGlynn drew up a play for Dover High’s Keith Davis to get a shot. Davis hit a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer and the celebration ensued.
“After Keith hit the shot, coach ran up and down the sideline, jumping with emotion, and kicked over a chair,” Gorham said. “That type of energy he exhibited on a daily basis is something everyone watching him coach is going to remember about him. He brought passion and humor to every game and practice, and made it more enjoyable.
How it began: Years before, while he coached his oldest son, Patrick McGlynn IV, who goes by “Four,” Pat McGlynn found himself traveling long distances for club games and practices because there weren’t any teams close to York.
After countless hours spent in the car, a suggestion from Pat McGlynn’s wife, Robyn McGlynn, led to the creation of the York Ballers.
“My wife looked at me one day and goes, ‘This is ridiculous, you’re going to a basketball league for an 11 year old in (Washington) D.C. and you’re driving down there two days a week,’” Pat McGlynn said. “She said, ‘Why don’t you just start one up here?’ So that’s what I did.”
And with that, the York Ballers were born. Since that time, many of York County's top basketball players have been a part of the program.
The original teams created were for fourth, fifth and sixth graders. It took some time, but Pat McGlynn started to see progress in the program.
The moment Pat McGlynn realized he had something special with the Ballers was when his team secured its first upset win at a tournament. The Ballers, with Four McGlynn playing, beat All-Ohio Red, which featured a team of future NCAA Division I athletes, including Jared Sullinger, who played five years in the NBA.
After the game, a man approached Pat McGlynn while he was leaving the gym to offer congratulations. He didn’t recognize him, but York Suburban boys’ basketball coach Tom Triggs did.
“He said, ‘I came to watch that other team, but I am going to watch your team from now on,’” Pat McGlynn said. “I said, ‘thank you sir,’ and walked out the door, and Triggs looks at me and says, ‘How do you know Huggins?’”
That man was West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins, who was coaching at Cincinnati at the time.
“That’s when I started thinking, 'wow these guys could be really really good,'” Pat McGlynn said.
Changing lives: Throughout the years, the bond with his players is what always kept Pat McGlynn involved with the teams. His favorite memory from coaching was helping a player that began as the ninth man on a nine-man roster become a college basketball player.
The player was told by his high school coach he would never play in college, but credited Pat McGlynn’s belief in him and his coaching as the reason he was able to achieve his dream.
“Making an impact in somebody’s life like that is more rewarding than anyone paying you money,” Pat McGlynn said.
Pat McGlynn said that during his 16 years, more than 200 players have gone onto play in college.
During his time with the Ballers, Pat McGlynn has helped create future coaches, as well as players.
Jared Wagner, a rising senior for the York College men’s basketball team and a former Ballers player, will be forever grateful for the experience Pat McGlynn has given him by allowing him to coach.
While still in college, Wagner already has two years of coaching experience to lean on when he looks to begin a career as a college basketball coach after graduation.
“Coaching an AAU team at 20 and 21 years old and having to run practices, is really going to help me down the road,” Wagner said. “He has always been someone that believes in me more than anyone else.”
Always a Baller: While Pat McGlynn’s time as president of the Ballers comes to an end, the program will always be a part of him and he will still be involved. Pat McGlynn said he will still handle the administrative duties and contacting the 500 to 600 college coaches he said are in his cell phone about players’ futures.
The new president of the Ballers is Justin Seitz, who is also the coach of the boys’ basketball team at Eastern York. Seitz said no matter what role Pat McGlynn plays, the Ballers will always be his team.
“No matter what, when anyone is talking about the York Ballers, they’re going to go to Pat,” Seitz said. “The York Ballers are Pat McGlynn.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.