A top national prospect during his high school days in Franklin Park, Illinois, Grunwald worked his way back from a devastating knee injury to play basketball for legendary coach Bobby Knight at Indiana University.
He won a NCAA championship with the Hoosiers in 1981 (alongside future NBA great Isiah Thomas), and holds a Bachelor of Science and MBA from Indiana University. Grunwald earned a JD from the Northwestern University School of Law before embarking on a successful, decade-long career as a corporate lawyer.
After being lured back to the sport in 1990, he briefly served as vice-president of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets before joining the Toronto Raptors in 1994 to help guide the team’s expansion efforts.
He worked as the Raptors’ general manager from 1997 to 2004, and is famous for masterminding a draft-day trade in 1998 that brought perennial NBA All-Star Vince Carter to Toronto. He later held various executive positions for the New York Knicks, including general manager, and also previously served as president & CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade.
As for making the shift from working with professional athletes to students, Grunwald says he’s excited about the challenges and opportunities alike.
“A lot of the time, student-athletes have to make great sacrifices to combine their academic and athletic endeavours,” said Grunwald. “When I was in professional sports, we were focused on making our athletes as good as they can possibly be. Here, we’re trying to make the total student-athlete experience as good as possible. That’s our focus.”