Walt McGrory was a member of the Wisconsin men’s basketball team, and the team is grieving his loss. Walt was a walk-on who enrolled in the programme in 2017. He fought valiantly against osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that is incurable, until he went away on a Saturday following a protracted and heroic battle.
Walt McGrory’s journey with the Wisconsin Badgers began in 2017 when he walked onto the team, leaving an indelible mark with his dedication and passion for the sport. Hailing from Edina High School in Minnesota, McGrory quickly became a beloved member of the Badgers family, forging lasting bonds with teammates and coaches alike.
In August 2021, tragedy struck as Walt received the devastating diagnosis of osteosarcoma. Undeterred by the grim prognosis, he faced the challenge with admirable strength and resolve. Despite the uphill battle, McGrory continued to exemplify resilience, inspiring not only his teammates but also the entire Badgers community.
April of the following year saw a profound turn in Walt’s journey, as doctors made the difficult decision to amputate part of his left leg in an effort to halt the progression of the aggressive cancer. The surgery marked a physical setback, but it did little to diminish McGrory’s spirit or determination.
Throughout his arduous journey, Walt received unwavering support from his teammates, past and present. Notably, current UW players Tyler Wahl and Carter Gilmore, along with former players Trevor Anderson and Carter Higginbottom, made a heartfelt trip to Minnesota to visit McGrory before the season started. The reunion was a poignant moment, reminiscent of old times when they would all gather together.
Tyler Wahl reflected on the visit, saying, “It was heartwarming to go up there and just see him again. Kind of like old times, because we would all hang out together. We talked a little bit about what was going on with him, but mostly it was just to visit, getting him to laugh and chop it up.”
Walt McGrory’s impact extended beyond the basketball court. In September, he initiated a GoFundMe page to help cover the mounting medical expenses. The response from fans, friends, and well-wishers was overwhelming, with over $136,000 raised—a testament to the widespread love and support for McGrory.
Head coach Greg Gard, recognizing the gravity of the situation, took a moment to address the Badger Nation after UW’s victory over Robert Morris on Nov. 17. Gard urged fans to channel positive thoughts and prayers towards McGrory, whose health was deteriorating. In a heartfelt message, Gard expressed, “And Walt, if you are listening or watching with your family, just to let you know we love you here in Madison and are thinking about you and praying for you.”
Walt McGrory’s legacy transcends the basketball court. His unwavering courage, positive spirit, and the sense of camaraderie he fostered within the Badgers family will forever be remembered. As the Wisconsin men’s basketball program mourns the loss of a cherished member, they also celebrate the enduring impact of a young man who faced adversity with grace, leaving behind a legacy of resilience and unity.