2000: College coaches gain with Grost’s return

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Gregg Grost announced in March that after 15 years as men’s golf coach at the University of Oklahoma he was retiring at the end of the season. He said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, Michelle, and 4-year-old daughter Samantha.

Soon after the announcement I wrote a column dealing with Grost’s decision, commenting:

“Not with my wildest imagination can I see Gregg Grost turning into a couch potato. He is too energetic, too innovative, too dedicated to simply cast it all aside and ride off into the sunset to sell used cars or something. This is a man who has more ideas than there are toys in Santa’s Christmas Eve bag. And he’s not afraid to put every ounce of energy he has to see those ideas through.

“I have a feeling he will in some way be involved in the game of golf, particularly college golf. If there was anything out there that would allow him to spend that time with his family and still be involved with the game, I think he would jump at it. And, you can bet, he would be a major asset to whatever company or organization he represented.”

Man, do I love it when I’m right (since it’s not very often).

Grost, 44, is back in the game. The college game. On Sept. 1, he officially became the executive director of the Golf Coaches Association of America, an organization in which he had been an active member during his coaching career.

He has set up the GCAA office in Norman, Okla. – one of the key stipulations he made before accepting the position – and with a much less hectic travel schedule will be able to spend that quality time with his family.

The way I see it, this is a win-win-win situation – for the GCAA, Grost and men’s college golf.

“I’m really excited about it. I feel it’s a good match,” said Grost, who in his 15-year stint at OU produced one NCAA championship (1989), two NCAA Central Regional titles, 14 NCAA tournament berths, a conference championship and 16 tournament wins, along with 26 All-Americans.

“College golf has a number of issues out there now and they will become more visible in the future and we have to make sure coaches have a handle on them,” said Grost. “Coaches organizations in other sports are the voice for their sport and that’s the way we want it to be in golf.”

In taking over as executive director, Grost succeeds Jim Hames, who after 11 years of running the GCAA from Orlando, Fla., announced he was stepping down in May.

“We certainly appreciate the job Jim has done for this organization and how he helped it grow over the last 11 years,” said Mark Simpson, men’s golf coach at Colorado and president of the GCAA. “Now we will look to Gregg to keep us moving forward. We (the National Advisory Board of the GCAA) feel he is perfect to take over the organization. He is well respected in college golf circles and has a passion for college golf. He has a lot of ideas and plans, some of which will take time, but I think we’ll see some positive changes over the next few years.”

You can bet on it.

Grost is a mover and a shaker. Always has been and always will be. But some may fear he has too much enthusiasm, and too many offbeat ideas, and maybe even too much energy for their tastes.

At times I might agree. Yet Grost will make things happen. I also know that he is wise enough to pull back on the reigns when he must.

“I think what people have to realize is I may have the ideas, but whatever I do, I have to bring (it) before the board for permission and approval,” Grost said.

His first priority is getting the GCAA office up and running in Norman and then getting his feet on the ground to orchestrate the day-to-day operations.

From there it will be contacting old sponsors and trying to get new ones, and planning for the annual GCAA convention.

Among his other projects he’s hoping to get off the ground are a GCAA Web site, changing the size and scope of the association’s newsletter, forming a players advisory group of current college golfers from around the country, working on the proposed GCAA national fall match play championship, and trying to get more college golf on national television.

Is Gregg Grost the right man for this job? Absolutely. This is one of those rare times when Right Ron wins out over Wrong Ron!

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