As we continue in our Giants series, we turn the spotlight on an exceptional individual whose legacy has woven itself into the very fabric of our school community - Larry Graf.
For an astounding 28 years, Coach Graf led the Hemlock High School Softball program with unwavering dedication and unmatched expertise. From 1986 to 2013, he left an indelible mark, imprinting a legacy that continues to inspire generations.
With a resounding record of 702 wins against 272 losses, Coach Graf's coaching prowess shone brightly, culminating in an impressive 72% win rate. More than victories, he instilled values and teamwork skills that have profoundly impacted countless lives, extending far beyond the diamond.
Recognized as District Coach of the Year five times and Regional Coach of the Year three times, Coach Graf's pursuit of excellence was a hallmark of his illustrious career. His influence extended to coaching the MHSAA D3 State All-Star game in 2000, demonstrating his impact within the broader coaching community.
Under Coach Graf's guidance, his teams soared to extraordinary heights, clinching state Quarterfinal and semifinal berths. The 2000 team's state semifinal run stands as a testament to his ability to foster teamwork and unity.
Among the many milestones, the 1998 team's stellar 38-4 record, coupled with Coach Graf's recognition as the 1998 Saginaw Area Dream Team Coach, remains a crowning achievement. These accolades underscore Coach Graf's caliber of coaching and mentorship.
Beyond the softball field, Coach Graf's influence radiates through the lives of his players. His mentorship has been instrumental in shaping their futures, contributing significantly to their personal growth, character development, and academic success.
From the announcing booth to the softball field and even farming to support athletics, Larry Graf's commitment to our school and community is unwavering. He stands as a beacon of support, always placing the well-being of our students at the forefront.
In 2018, the Hemlock Board of Education fittingly honored this esteemed coach by naming the softball field ‘Graf Field'. And now, the prestigious Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame is set to welcome Larry Graf into its ranks, a testament to his enduring legacy. The induction ceremony on November 5, 2023, will be a fitting celebration of a life dedicated to the love of sports and mentorship.
Thank you, Coach Graf, for your immeasurable impact on our school and community. Your legacy will forever be our guiding light.
#StandingOnTheShouldersOfGiants #HemlockStrong #BetterTogether #Since1863 #LegacyOfGreatness #InspirationalLeader #ThankYouLarryGraf
Photo credit: MLive/Saginaw News