Longtime Evansville/Albany coach Ron Grovesteen honored
EVANSVILLE—Ron Grovesteen looked up at the scoreboard and still couldn't believe it.
It wasn't, however, the 41-21 score—a victory for his Evansville/Albany Blue Devils that clinched a playoff spot—that had him speechless.
Just above those lights was his name, nearly three hours after the Blue Devils' stadium had been named Ron Grovesteen Field.
“I can't believe it now,” Grovesteen said. “I'm looking right where the score is, and it's hard to look up above there. But it'll sink in.”
“I don't have any words. It's quite an honor. It's a privilege to be able to work here so many years. It doesn't seem like that many. And I'm still planning to coach for a while yet, but it's exciting.”
The pregame ceremony was held prior to Evansville/Albany's final regular-season home game of Grovesteen's 40th season at the helm.
The public-address announcer made note of many of his accomplishments during that time, including nine Rock Valley Conference championships, nine conference Coach of the Year honors, 18 trips to the WIAA playoffs—19 after Friday's victory—and four trips to the state semifinals.
Grovesteen, who received a chorus of “We Love Grover” chants, won his 240th game against East Troy on Friday, ranking among the state's top 20 coaches in victories.
“The idea (to name the field) has been in place for a while, it's just a matter of putting the pieces together,” Evansville athletic director Brian Cashore said. “This is his 40th season, so when would there be a better time to do it?
“It was just a matter of when; it wasn't a matter of it if was going to happen.”
Grovesteen also runs Evansville's kindergarten-through-sixth-grade youth program and has played a large role in fundraising for equipment.
He was Evansville's track coach for 20 years and has been an assistant basketball coach for 36.
“We've been hashing over all the memories,” Grovesteen said. “We've had some real good teams over the years. They've all worked hard, and they're all good memories.”
There should be more on the way, with the Blue Devils making the playoffs and no one sensing any sort of retirement party is looming.
“He's really, really enthusiastic, and just a really good coach overall,” Blue Devils running back Ryan Cashore said. “He's by far the best coach I've ever had in my life.”
That legacy will now live on forever under the lights of Grovesteen Field.