One of the best basketball players the Capital District has ever produced is giving back to his hometown community.

Dick Grubar, who starred for Bishop Gibbons High School in the mid-1960s and then went on to have an outstanding career at the University of North Carolina playing for legendary coach Dean Smith, has established and will personally fund a scholarship to be given annually to a Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons student. Grubar has named the scholarship “The Don Blaha Honorary Scholarship” in honor of his high school coach.

“I am very grateful for the education and athletic opportunity Gibbons gave to me and I have been looking for a way that I could show my appreciation and provide some payback”, Grubar said. “I am delighted to name the scholarship in honor of my high school coach Don Blaha for the mentoring and guidance he gave me. He has served as a leader and role model in the Schenectady community his entire lifetime.”

Grubar graduated from Bishop Gibbons in 1965. In his junior and senior years, he averaged 22 and 24 points per game, respectively, and led the Golden Knights to back-to-back Diocesan League titles and an Eastern NYS Catholic High School Championship. He was named Player of the Year both years. 

“Dick was a very unselfish player, ” Blaha said. “At 6-4, he could see the floor and pass better than anyone I ever coached. If you were open, Dick would get you the ball. When Coach Smith traveled to Schenectady to see what Dick had to offer as a basketball player and person, he loved what he saw and made him one of his top recruits.”

Grubar became one of the most popular players in North Carolina history. He teamed with Larry Miller, Rusty Clark, Bill Bunting and Charlie Scott (the first African American to play for the Tar Heels) to win three consecutive ACC championships, three straight NCAA Eastern Regionals and earn three straight trips to the NCAA Final Four from 1966-69.

Grubar was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the now-defunct ABA where his basketball career was cut short after one season because of knee injuries.

“For Dick to pay tribute to me while giving back to the school which began his wonderful journey as a student-athlete, I am truly honored and humbled,” Blaha said.