Maggie Bair provides a lot to talk about.
“Where do you want me to start?” asked Jennie Baranczyk, coach of women’s basketball at Drake University in Iowa, where the well-rounded Glenbard South graduate is taking classes before her freshman season.
Let’s start here: Maggie Bair is the Daily Herald DuPage County Female Athlete of the Year for 2018-19.
Leading Glenbard South’s surprise run to second place in Class 3A girls basketball, the first-team Associated Press all-state pick set all-time program records for points and rebounds while averaging 16.7 points and 13.8 rebounds.
Most valuable player four seasons, the Raiders renamed it the Maggie Bair Award.
In the fall she earned repeat Daily Herald All-Area honors in volleyball. Twice her team MVP, the four-year starting middle blocker set all-time program marks in blocks, second in kills.
Not that she was counting.
“I feel even if our team lost every game, in every sport, I still would have learned so much from the people I was with,” Bair said. “Watching myself grow and watching them grow is an experience I would never want to change, and I will never forget.”
We don’t forget Bair also twice qualified for Class 2A track and field in shot put. With Drake on the horizon, this spring she chose to condition for basketball.
“Obviously, Maggie’s really good at basketball and we’re excited about that, but there’s always more to it. She’s an incredible teammate, high-character, she’s fun to be around. We’ve been able to find a lot of value in multisport athletes, as well,” said Baranczyk, who noted Bair’s “presence” and humility.
The third of three children of athletically gifted parents Steve and Maureen Bair, young Maggie played softball through sixth grade, tried soccer (“hated” it), even ballet.
She also was a high honor-roll student who mentored younger students while active in the Christian youth program, Young Life.
“I think she’s more of a special person than a special athlete,” said eldest brother Billy Bair, a top-10 all-time scorer for Glenbard South boys basketball.
With two big brothers it was always game on at the driveway hoop, Horse or pickup.
“Freshman year she was a twig,” said Charlie Bair, an incoming junior forward at Southern Illinois University. “But watching basketball, knowing how physical it could get, she just kept working because she had to get bigger and stronger. And she definitely did that the last two years.”
Enough that Maggie’s 1,498 total rebounds more than doubled Charlie’s Raiders boys record, 683.
“That felt a little good,” Maggie said. “There was a little smack talk inside the house.”
Her versatility is key. Projected to play from small forward to the post at Drake, similar to high school, the 6-foot-3 Bair’s 220 steals are second all-time at Glenbard South.
She made the state 3-Point Showdown her senior and sophomore seasons, winning the contest in 2017.
“The scary thing is I don’t think Maggie is close to her potential. She’ll get stronger in college, she’ll play better athletes, and I think her ceiling is incredibly high,” said Glenbard South girls basketball coach Morgan Eufrasio.
Bair’s full scholarship at Drake ends her competitive volleyball career. Raiders coach Chad Grant, who won two conference titles and a regional with Bair at the net, said she could “definitely” play college volleyball had she gone that route.
“In most matches she’s the best hitter on the floor,” Grant said.
And: “When a kid comes out of a game she’s the first one to give her a high-five and say great job, or when a kid comes into the game she’s the first one to get them fired up. She’s the ultimate team player.”
Bair doesn’t like to talk about herself — such as the party she threw this spring to thank her former coaches. Her accomplishments at Glenbard South speak for themselves.
“It makes me sad that I have to leave and say goodbye to a lot of great people that I’ve gotten to know through the years,” she said. “But I’m excited to come back and see how it’s changed and what’s going on.”
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