Coach Finds His Voice On The Sidelines

Jeff Gronner has stuttered his whole life but that doesn't stop him from the job he always knew he wanted.

Football coaches spend a lot of time yelling instructions from the sidelines but there was a time when Cromwell-Wright head coach Jeff Gronner had a hard time finding the words.

Ever since I started speaking I’ve had a speech impediment, i have stuttered all my life… It doesn’t bother me a lot but at times it does,” said Gronner.

Gronner has had to overcome uncomfortable struggles and barriers, even now as an adult and a coach.

“I mean it isn’t easy being in a profession where you have to communicate using words and you have a disability in that regard,” said Gronner.

Gronner struggled with speaking his whole life but it was on the sideline he found his voice.

“I feel at ease when I’m around kids I really do. I don’t stutter as often… If I’m on the field, or on the court, or in here I feel a lot more at ease,” said Gronner.

Gronner believes, just like in the sport of football determination and fight equal a win.

“I just tell myself i can do it if I get stuck on a word just focus on the stuff you know. So it’s a lot of extra gesturing and positive self-talk,” said Gronner.

Whatever Gronner is doing, it’s working. The Cardinals went undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 2012 and are now headed to the state tournament.

“He is definitely the heart of the team along with the players. He definitely has a strong bond which helps with the friendship that makes our team strong,” said Cromwell-Wright senior, Matthew Holm.

“He’s a fun guy, he just makes the atmosphere really fun all the time. He jokes around with us,” said Alex Striowski, Cromwell-Wright Senior.

Coaches can yell but words from this coach come from the heart.

“If there is something that you really want to do don’t let a physical disability get in the way of doing something that you love. Even if you have to do some things that are kind of uncomfortable,” said Gronner.


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