Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame needs to add Jack Grout

A good number of coaches deserve induction but none more than Grout
by Jenni Carlson Published: July 14, 2013

photo - JACK GROUT / PRO GOLFER / SCIOTO COUNTRY CLUB / COLUMBUS, OHIO / FORMER OKLAHOMA CITY GOLFER (Staff Photo by Bob Albright) (Photo taken Jan. 2, 1952) (Published 01/03/1952 in the Oklahoma City Times)
JACK GROUT / PRO GOLFER / SCIOTO COUNTRY CLUB / COLUMBUS, OHIO / FORMER OKLAHOMA CITY GOLFER (Staff Photo by Bob Albright) (Photo taken Jan. 2, 1952) (Published 01/03/1952 in the Oklahoma City Times)

Jack Nicklaus was struggling.

It was the spring of 1986, and the man who spent the two-plus decades atop the golf world was slogging through one round after another. His scores were high, but his frustration was higher.

He called on Jack Grout, the only teacher he'd ever known.

A no-nonsense Oklahoman, Grout minced no words about the issue with Nicklaus's swing.

“Way too handsy,” he said.

Nicklaus spent the next few weeks working relentlessly to fix the problem.

A month after Grout's diagnosis, Nicklaus authored one of the greatest major championship victories in golf history. The 46-year-old won the Masters, shooting a final round 65 and claiming his record 18th major professional championship.

Grout's simple but profound instruction in 1986 is one of many stories in a new book authored by his son. Dick Grout embarked on the eight-year project in the hopes that people would be reminded or introduced to his father's remarkable life in golf. “Jack Grout — A Legacy in Golf” starts in Oklahoma City, where he was born, and ends with the greatest golfer that the world has ever known.

But Jack Grout chose to stay largely in the background.

When Nicklaus won that storied Masters, for example, Grout watched on TV from his home in Florida.

Because of his behind-the-scenes ways, the golf world has largely forgotten Grout. He isn't a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, the PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame or the Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.

Sadly, he's been forgotten in his home state, too. He isn't a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, either.

Jack Grout deserves to be.

He's not the only coach who does.

Joining Grout at the top of the list is Varryl Franklin. The longtime boys basketball coach at Millwood High School has won more state titles than any other basketball coach in Oklahoma history. In more than four decades of coaching, he has 13 state championships.

No other coach is even close.

What's more, Franklin's impact on generation after generation of boys at Millwood is profound. I wrote a story about him a few years ago, and one former player after another professed of the coach's impact. One who left school went back and became a coach. Another who thought he couldn't afford college became an accountant in Washington, D.C.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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