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Forum staff reports, Published October 15 2010

Bison Hall of Famer Grooters killed in accident

Bison Athletic Hall of Famer Roger Grooters, a four-year letterman and head coach of North Dakota State University’s national championship men’s cross country team in 1972, was killed Oct. 6, while riding a bicycle in Bay County, Fla.

Grooters, 66, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was on a cross-country trek to raise money for victims of the Gulf oil spill.

He was three days from completing his 3,200-mile trip from Oceanside, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla.

Grooters is the uncle of Greg Grooters, the principal of West Fargo’s Sheyenne 9th Grade Academy.

The cross-country bike ride was very much something his uncle would do, he said.

“He was always up to the challenge. That was just like Roger,” Greg Grooters said. “He was interested in helping people and he was very connected to his church.”

Roger Grooters was hit by a pickup on the shoulder of the road and thrown from his bicycle just before 9 a.m. local time. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to NDSU, Grooters lettered in both cross country and track at NDSU from 1962 to 1966.

He was the 1964 North Central Conference cross country champion with a time of 20 minutes, 59.5 seconds on a 4-mile course.

The head track and cross country coach from 1968 to 1974, Grooters led his Bison squads to six NCC championships and won the 1972 NCAA College Division cross country title.

Grooters graduated from NDSU in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from NDSU in 1968.

He received a degree in educational administration from St. Cloud State in 1977 and a doctorate in educational administration from Nebraska in 1979.

The former executive director of the Academic Center for Student-Athletes at Louisiana State University, Grooters also worked at Nebraska, Florida State, Michigan State and Southern California.

“He worked at a lot of different places. There were people from across the country from the different universities he worked” at the funeral service Monday in Gulf Breeze, Greg Grooters said.

“He didn’t sit still very long. He liked to move. He liked to move on to the next thing,” Greg Grooters said.

He is survived by his wife Vicki, seven children, and 11 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Roger’s Ride Across America making a donation to assist victims of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill online.

1. Visit Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church at www.gbumc.org

2. Click on the red “Give Now” link

3. In the other category, fill out the comment form with “Oil Spill Response”