McNary athletic director Scott Gragg (left) with his his son, Brian, after a football game in 2016 (FILE).
Whether it’s the way he walks with the swagger of a former athlete, or the fact that he towers over just about everyone in the city of Keizer, it’s easy to assume that Scott Gragg was once a star in the athletic arena.
Even though his playing days have been over for more than a decade, the 6-foot-8 inch former offensive lineman is still getting recognized for his outstanding football career.
On Saturday, March 23, Gragg was inducted into the Montana Football Hall of Fame as a part of the class of 2019.
Gragg played at the University of Montana from 1991 to 1994 and served as an assistant coach with the school from 2009 to 2015.
While he has spent most of his life in Oregon, Gragg has always thought of Montana as his second home, so being recognized for his excellence on the football field was a humbling experience for him.
“I had no expectation to be acknowledged, so to get that honor was really huge,” Gragg said.
“Every time I was introduced, it was Scott Gragg from the University of Montana. So even though I’m an Oregon kid, there is part of me that feels like I’m from Montana as well.”
Gragg grew up in the mid-Valley and was a standout football and basketball player at Silverton High School.
Initially, his favorite sport was basketball. But after having a lot of success in football his junior and senior seasons, Gragg was pursued by multiple Division 1 schools.
Gragg took his first official visit to the University of Idaho. However, after he checked out the Montana campus, he knew where he wanted to continue his education and football career.
“I was first attracted to the University of Montana because it felt like home to me,” Gragg said. “It was a special place.”
“I knew that this was the right place for me.”
Gragg played at Montana from 1991 to 1994 and was an all-Big Sky Conference selection for three straight seasons and started in 38 consecutive games for the Grizzlies at offensive tackle.
Gragg was coached by the legendary Don Read, who coached at the University of Oregon and Portland State University before coaching at Montana from 1986 to 1995.
“Don Read, to this day, is the best coach I’ve ever had,” Gragg said. “I don’t know how he is at X’s and O’s, but he is the most positive person you’re around and the most uplifting and encouraging. You wanted to do everything you could do represent what he believed and I fell in love with that.”
“He taught me what I had to to do to be successful.”
After completing his senior season, Gragg was selected to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl — he is the only Montana player to ever be selected to the senior bowl.
Because of his exceptional college career, as well as his good showing at both all-star games, Gragg was selected by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft.
Gragg played for the Giants from 1995 to 1999, then played five seasons for the San Francisco 49ers from 2000 to 2004 before concluding his career with the New York Jets in 2005.
“At some point in time I’m going to wake up, because it just feels like a dream that has come true,” Gragg said. “If you were going to set a course of aspirations for yourself, I don’t know how I could have planned it any better than how my college and professional career went.”