He's been coaching for virtually his entire adult life, roughly six decades in all.
He spent more than half a century in the same quaint location, coaching the same team.
Even for an octogenarian, the decision to retire is a difficult: He is, after all, the winningest active coach in the country. But it's a decision that everybody eventually has to make.
Sound like anybody you know?
It certainly does to John Gagliardi, who can empathize with what Chisholm High School boys basketball coach Bob McDonald is currently going through.
"I certainly have heard of him," the 87-year-old Gagliardi said of the 80-year-old McDonald.
"Geez. He's just a young guy. He's a lot younger than I was."
Everything is relative. And even when you're into an eighth decade, it's not an easy decision to retire from the profession that you love.
"Oh, very tough," Gagliardi said. "Once in a while, you've got some regrets, too. But you just live on.
"Retirement's got some benefits. You reflect back and look at all the great things you did."
Gagliardi did a lot of them. He retired after the 2012 college football season, at age 86, after 64 years of college coaching and 60 at St. John's. His final ledger included a college football-record 489 victories, four national championships and 27 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles.
McDonald has a similarly glittery resume. The winningest prep basketball coach in Minnesota history is the active national leader with 1,011 victories, and in his 59 years of coaching (the last 53 at Chisholm) he led his teams to 12 state tournament berths and three state titles.
But the next game McDonald coaches could be his last. Chisholm opens play in the Section 7A playoffs on Thursday, and the Bluestreaks' next loss will end their coach's storied career.
"A lot of people can hardly wait until retirement," said Gagliardi, who like McDonald was clearly not one of those people. "I've had a lot of thrills in life in coaching.
"That's the thing I miss a little bit: You don't have the next one to look forward to. But I'm not the first guy that's ever retired.
"He's had a great career," Gagliardi added. "Up there on the (Iron) Range, they really take sports seriously. He's had a great life and a great career."
Those are the most obvious similarities between the two. There also are some notable differences.
McDonald might be younger, but he's definitely more "old-school."
His players have been held to strict standards since 1961: close-cropped hair, sport coats and ties on game day, knee-high socks, no baseball caps, 10 p.m. curfew every night.
"He's a real throwback, huh?" Gagliardi said.
McDonald always paid close attention to that kind of stuff. Gagliardi, who was coaching college players, not so much.
"I didn't really," he said. "I think the one thing he's got - hopefully, we've got that in common - is we both had very fundamentally sound teams. You get players to make you look like you know what you're doing."
Both Gagliardi and McDonald did that exceptionally well, which was one of the keys to their coaching longevity. In coaching, longevity constitutes a ringing endorsement.
"First of all, it's the fact that you've been able to hang on that long, that they haven't run you out of there," Gagliardi said. "I finally got to the point where I thought, 'I can't let this kill me'."
And, he didn't. But no matter how long a coach waits, it's not easy to retire.
McDonald announced his decision before the Bluestreaks' season began. Gagliardi was at least a little unsure virtually until the day it happened.
"I had some thoughts of going on (after the 2012 season)," Gagliardi said. "It wasn't until after the season that I made up my mind. I would say it was maybe 80 percent that I'd made up my mind.
"You don't have to make a decision until you have to make it. He made up his mind - maybe I should have too."
Eventually, Gagliardi did. Fifteen months after that decision, though, he still doesn't really have any advice for McDonald - only best wishes.
"Well, I'd say 'hang in there as long as you can.' But he probably did that anyway," Gagliardi said.
"Really, I'd just say congratulations on a tremendous career.
"I think of all the guys I've touched in coaching. I think in high school, you touch a lot more."
This is the opinion of Times sports editor Dave DeLand. Contact him at 255-8771 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter @davedeland. Join him for a live chat from noon-1 p.m. Thursdays at www.sctimes.com/.
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St. Cloud Times (Minnesota)
HEADLINE: Coaching might be the hardest job to quit
BYLINE: Dave DeLand