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
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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)

If you induct Franklin, you'd best add Clyde Ellis, too. The former girls track coach at John Marshall High had a similarly profound impact on his athletes — and his teams won 17 state titles, including 14 straight from 1976-89.

And what about Seymour Williams? He coached high school football for the better part of four decades, including 31 years at Tulsa Washington from 1921-51. He had 13 unbeaten teams and 19 black-school state titles.

And Mike Little? No other high school football coach won at so many places in Oklahoma that had never won before. He turned Putnam West, Putnam North, Yukon and Bethany into winners.

And Joe Ross? He turned Thomas into a small-school high school powerhouse, winning seven state titles becoming the first coach in state history to win three titles in a row (1955-57).

There are plenty of coaches who rose above the high school level who deserve to be in the hall, too.

Chuck Fairbanks installed the wishbone at Oklahoma. Ron Gardenhire has managed the Minnesota Twins since 2002. Enos Semore took the Sooners to five consecutive College World Series. Ken Trickey nearly took Oral Roberts to the Final Four. Steve Nunno took Shannon Miller from his little-known Edmond gym to Olympic gymnastics gold.

But no coach at any level is more deserving than Jack Grout.

We all known what a huge impact Nicklaus had on golf, and if you read the new book on Grout, you'll quickly see that his impact on the Golden Bear was every bit as profound.

“Jack never sought the public spotlight,” Nicklaus wrote of Grout in his forward to the book, “never sought to take any of the credit for my career tournament victories or for those of any of the other successful players he mentored.”

That doesn't mean Grout doesn't deserve credit.

Doesn't mean he doesn't deserve a spot in the hall of fame either.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.


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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