Bob Groseclose led the University of Louisiana-Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana) to 19 Southland Conference championships from 1960 to 1989. Groseclose coached John Pennel, a two-time Olympian in the pole vault who became the first athlete to clear 17 feet.
A native of Abilene, Texas, Groseclose moved to Breckenridge at age 14 following the death of his father. An outstanding multi-sport athlete there, he went on to participate in football, basketball and track at TCU.
Groseclose returned to Abilene to coach track & field at Abilene High School in the 1950s and 1960s. Three times, his Eagles track & field teams returned from Austin as Class 4A state champions (1954, 1959, and 1960). In his six-year tenure with Abilene High, his teams won six district championships, five regional titles, and 40 invitational meets. One of his pupils at Abilene was half-miler James Blackwood, the long-time head women’s track & field coach at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Following his 1960 state championship, Groseclose accepted the head coaching job at Northeast Louisiana State, leaving behind an Eagles team that would claim yet another state title the season following his departure.
In Monroe, he coached for 29 years before retiring in 1989, tutoring three world record holders, nine national champions and 25 All Americans. His teams won the Southland Conference championship on 10 occasions.
As a college senior in 1963, Pennel cleared 17-0¾ at a meet in Miami, Florida. Pennel set six more world records that year and set additional records in 1966 and 1969. Another of Groseclose’s athletes, Don Styron, clocked a world-record 21.9 in the 220-yard hurdles in 1960.
Groseclose’s 29 years at Louisiana-Monroe is the longest tenure of any coach in university history. In 1996, the university named its track in his honor. He is a member of the University of Louisiana-Monroe Athletics Hall of Fame and the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame.