Coach steps down after 31 years
July 28, 2010
Courtesy of North Dakota Athletics
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - After 31 years, nine individual NCAA champions, 58 All-Americans and 29 academic All-Americans, University of North Dakota head men's track and field and cross country coach Mike Grandall announced his retirement and resignation on Tuesday.
The longest-tenured member of UND's coaching staff, Grandall had spent the past 28 years at the helm of UND's men's track and cross country programs. Grandall joined the UND athletics department in 1979 as a track and field and cross country graduate assistant coach. In 1980 he was named women's cross country head coach, a position he would hold until 1984. He took over the men's track and cross country programs prior to the 1982-83 season.
"We are grateful to coach Grandall for his long service to the University of North Dakota and wish him well in his retirement," said UND Director of Athletics Brian Faison.
Grandall inherited a men's track program that had not had an All-American since 1977 or a national champion since 1969 and guided it to unprecedented heights. Three of his student-athletes, Steve Burian, Dave Levos and Norm McGee, are already enshrined in the UND Letterwinners Association Hall of Fame.
Grandall's teams earned a pair of NCAA national finishes, placing eighth in 1985 and tying for ninth in 1987.
"It has really been an honor, a privilege and a pleasure to coach and work at the University of North Dakota and represent the city and the state," said Grandall. "Having been given the opportunity by (UND) President (Tom) Clifford to work with all of the supporters of the program, the people across campus and within the athletics department and, of course, the student-athletes was an unforgettable experience."
"As I look back on the fond memories of competing in the North Central Conference and at the Division II level and as we move forward into Division I, I felt it was time for me to move into retirement," said Grandall.
During Grandall's tenure, his student-athletes won 63 North Central Conference and Great West Conference event championships. Fifty-two of UND's 55 current indoor and outdoor school records were established under Grandall's watch.
In the classroom, 29 of Grandall's student-athletes earned academic All-America honors. In 2008, UND was named the Outdoor Track and Field Scholar Team of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCA).
Grandall is a native of Lignite, N.D., where he won the North Dakota State Class B title in the 100 and 220-yard dashes, and is a 1970 graduate of Minot State. Grandall coached and taught at Mohall (N.D.) High School from 1970-1976 and 1977-79 until coming to UND in 1979 to complete his master's degree in physical education.
Faison indicated that Grandall's departure will result in a restructuring of UND's track and field programs.
"Given the timing of Coach Grandall's decision to retire, I have asked women's cross country and track and field head coach Dick Clay to assume administrative responsibility for both the men's and women's programs for the coming year," said Faison. "At the same time, we will look to restructure the track program to focus upon providing more specific event coaching for our student-athletes."