[Steven Buyansky - For Shaw Media]
Gruidl was head coach of Plano's girls program for three years, from 1981to 1984. He later became a long-time assistant for the boys program, and was on Miller's staff when the Brad Korn-led 1999 team took fourth in Class A.
"That was quite an experience, a great ride to be on," Gruidl said. "Who would have ever believed that Plano would go down to state. We all go down to state every year and we always said 'Wouldn't it be great to see all the purple in the stands?' "
Gruidl was a fountain of knowledge to Chernick when Chernick was JV coach. He was his right-hand man when Chernick came aboard as head coach.
"I know that any success I had was because of him and all of the knowledge he has given me," Chernick said. "There isn't a practice or game that takes place where something he taught me doesn't come into play."
Always teaching, always coaching, Gruidl's players understood that he pushed them because he cared.
Chernick remembered a game against Morris, when Gruidl went to the locker room with Plano trailing by 16 and announced "I didn't come down here to watch you play like that."
Plano won by two.
"When he would come to the occasional practice or game last year, the girls swarmed him. It's so genuine," Chernick said. "When you see it, it just inspires you."
Gruidl these days misses the game, but he's hardly a stranger around Plano High School.
He tries to take in all the home games, and some of the road trips. Lay comes over quite a bit to look at game film, and has invited him to practice. Gruidl's wife wants him to get back in.
"I really would like to get more involved, and I think [Lay] would want me to, but at some point you have to say is enough is enough. But it's tough," Gruidl said. "I just love the game."