Phillip Calvin McGraw (born September 1, 1950) best known as Dr. Phil, is an American television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the television show Dr. Phil, which debuted in 2002. McGraw first gained celebrity status with appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the late 1990s.
Phil McGraw was born in Vinita, Oklahoma, the son of Jerry (née Stevens) and Joe McGraw. He grew up with two older sisters, Deana and Donna, and younger sister Brenda in the oilfields of North Texas where his father was an equipment supplier. During McGraw's childhood, his family moved so his father could pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a psychologist. McGraw attended Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. In 1968, he was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Tulsa, where he played middle linebacker under Coach Glenn Dobbs. On November 23 of that year McGraw's team lost to the University of Houston 100–6, which is one of the most lopsided games in college football history. Coach Dobbs retired after that season, and McGraw transferred to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
McGraw graduated in 1975 from Midwestern State University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. He went on to earn a Master of Arts in experimental psychology in 1976, and a Doctor of Philosophy in clinical psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas, where his dissertation was titled "Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention". After run-ins with several faculty members, McGraw was guided through the doctoral program by Frank Lawlis, who later became the primary contributing psychologist for the Dr. Phil television show.