On a rainy Saturday morning on the corner of 116th avenue and Francis Lewis Blvd in Cambria Heights, a crowd gathered to pay respect to one of Queens high schools finest and a New York City legend. On this day, the 22nd of October, the street was renamed to honor Charles “Chuck” Granby, the basketball coach who spent 45 years at Andrew Jackson High School. Located at this very corner, the school is now called Campus Magnet but the spirit of Granby lives on there. The street naming followed a community parade organized by alumnus James Johnson and community leaders. There were performances by youth dance groups that incorporated basketball and cheerleading as a tribute.
With 722 wins, Chuck Granby became the first high school coach to do so in the history of NYC PSAL. In his tenure he shaped the careers and lives of many student athletes on and off the court. Many of those athletes were present today to take part in this tribute.
Councilman Robert Cornegy of the 36th District in Brooklyn shared a little of Coach Granby’s famous “ugly life ugly wife” speech which caused the crowd to chuckle. Granby's lesson from that speech was that if you don't get your life right, everything will be "ugly".
Kyle O’Quinn of the New York Knicks thanked Granby’s daughter Robyn for sharing her dad with the basketball players and reminded the crowd that many students called him dad too. Also in attendance was former St. Johns basketball star Boo Harvey.
In addition to the basketball players there were many alumni wearing the school’s colors of green and white and several elected officials who came to pay tribute. Past and current cheerleaders made their voices heard with a spontaneous cheer. Councilman Daneek Miller of District 27 and New York State Senator Leroy Comrie both talked about Granby’s contribution to the youth and challenged the audience to continue his work.
Coach Chuck Granby died earlier this year, but those who were in attendance to witness the naming of the street, believed he was there in spirit. As the rain slowly made its presence, the unveiling of Coach “Chuck” Granby Way happened to the delight of the onlookers. There it will stay for all to see as a testament to the school’s motto “we can because we know we can”.