Name a nicer guy, a more inspirational coach and insightful teacher than William Chrisman’s Jason Grubb.
Go ahead, I’ve got all the time in the world ...
Granted, there are a handful of dedicated teachers and coaches – male and female – who might equal Grubb’s love of life, but few can top his joie de vivre.
Need another minute to look that up? All right, like I said, I have all night.
Early Thursday evening, Grubb was proving that he is the master of multitasking as he was grading summer school history papers, joyfully talking about the success his Bears boys and girls tennis teams had at the Summit Summer Slam tennis tournament at Lee’s Summit North and dutifully making his beautiful, and fussy, 1-year-old daughter Charlotte know that she and her 2 1/2-year-old sister Blair were the center of his universe.
Grubb is a 2006 graduate of Truman High School, who once interviewed for a position at Van Horn High School, accepted a teaching job at Independence Academy (the district’s alternative high school), then landed his dream job at Chrisman where he has been the girls tennis head coach the past seven years and the boys coach the past six.
“I’m a south Independence kid who is living the dream,” Grubb said. “It’s kind of funny. I played golf at Truman and my brother was the tennis stud. But golf got too expensive and I played a lot of tennis when I was at Mizzou.
“And now, here I am – seven years into the girls program and six into the boys – and I have never had a better time in my life.”
He means it.
While calling post-game results to The Examiner following a match or a game can be drudgery, Grubb makes it special. He gives enough insightful details that readers feel like they were at Santa Fe Trail Park on those special nights, like, when his Bears upset Truman 6-3 earlier this year for his first win ever over his alma mater.
“The culture is changing – changing for the better. The quality and personality of our teachers and coaches are the No. 1 reason for the culture change,” Independence Superintendent Dale Herl said. “Their expectations and work ethic led to more kids getting involved and in believing in themselves.”
And, I might add, Bears coaches like Grubb often had more faith in their players than the players had themselves.
So, what do his players mean to Grubb? He provided a detailed account of his players from this week, and said, "playing in tournaments like this is how we're going to keep getting better."
Players like Jordan Twenter, Tom Beem, Tori Gant, Sam Hawley, Nicole Eppert, Chelsea Gorden and Kiera Ashurst spent the week and this summer improving their games.
Grubb has accomplished the impossible, as he is creating a tennis culture at a school where most players pick up a racquet for the first time as freshmen. Then, in a few years they go out and challenge – and sometimes even beat – the country club kids who were born with a racquet in their crib.
“Just a guy living his dream, working at a great school, with a great administration and a great superintendent who understands what it takes to make our schools competitive,” Grubb said.
“And my kids – oh my gosh, they keep me going. Teaching history is wonderful. I was at the Independence Academy when (former history teacher) John Vickers left and he recommended me for the history job. It was a dream come true and I’m still living that dream today.”
Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com or 816-350-6333. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC