Inspiring from the Sidelines

By Grace McKenna

Daniel McGinley slouches slightly in his chair, his posture not masking his height. His royal blue University of Kansas t-shirt and New England Patriots cap reveal his interests first glance. Originally from Hoboken, New Jersey, the senior public relations major transferred to the University of South Carolina in his sophomore year after beginning college at Rutgers University.

McGinley says the change came from a desire to meet new people and to be engulfed in his greatest passion: sports. McGinley spent his childhood and teenage years playing basketball and football, hobbies that turned into a lifelong desire to work in the sports world.

“It’s in my blood,” McGinley said. “I just have a knack for it.”

In high school, McGinley played football for a year but then turned solely to basketball. In his senior year, his team made it all the way to the state championship. A handful of fellow seniors ruled the court, keeping the score close and tensions high. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter McGinley fouled out, a devastating blow in the last game he would play for the team. He watched his teammates lock down the championship game 78-77 from the bench, feeling horrible that he couldn’t help control their fate. Still though, the thrill of victory and the knowledge that a season of hard work paid off made the championship worth the agony of spectating.

For a young man so in love with basketball, one would think a state championship would be the greatest possible life accomplishment. But McGinley says he is actually proudest of his concert choir’s performance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. McGinley started concert choir in high school, following his sister and brother who both sang during their time in school. McGinley lights up with joy when he begins to talk about singing with the group.

“I was in the concert choir, that’s the highest level of choir we had,” he said, his smile spreading across his face.

In his career, McGinley aims to focus on basketball as he did in high school. His dream is to work his way up with a single team, starting out as a video coordinator and eventually making the leap to coaching staff. He imagines working for Villanova, a desire inspired by his brother who got his start there and now works for the NBA. McGinley says his brother first got him involved in sports and greatly influenced his career goals.

“He paved the way in believing it could actually happen,” McGinley said.

McGinley’s grandfather also served in guiding his career path. As a high school basketball coach, his grandfather produced 8 championships and earned a profound amount of respect from his players. That respect, for his grandfather and for the game, stuck with McGinley. Even today, his favorite teams and coaches all share a similar integrity and dedication. Above all else, McGinley respects when an athlete has a good head on his or her shoulders and acts with grace. Ultimately, he wants to leave behind a legacy like his grandfather’s based on positivity and inspiration.

“I want to help other people get where they need to,” he said. “I want to help my players and have an impact on their lives.”

McKenna is a junior broadcast journalism major

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