It’s not often that a sports information director becomes synonymous with a rowing team. Then again, Jack Grinold was no ordinary sports information director. The legendary innovator in sports publicity at Northeastern University passed away on April 21 at age 81.
“He was the heart and the soul and the spirit of Northeastern rowing,” Northeastern men’s head coach John Pojednic told The Boston Globe. Grinold, who held his role at the Boston-area university for 50 years, rarely missed a home rowing competition and even attended races after his retirement in 2012.
Today, the Northeastern rowing program continues to benefit from his tremendous dedication. Grinold and his wife Cathy established a $1.25 million endowment for the team in 2008. Five years later, the Huskies dedicated the training center at their boathouse on the Charles River in the Grinolds’ name.
“Nothing has enriched my life more than the birth of rowing at Northeastern,” Grinold said in 2013 when the facility was dedicated. In fact, he was instrumental in starting the program in 1965, in a “Cinderella” year that saw the fledgling team sweep the freshman, JV, and varsity eights at the Dad Vail Regatta.
But Grinold’s contributions to the rowing world extend beyond his strong Northeastern loyalties. He served as the press steward for the Eastern Sprints for 33 years and held a similar role for rowing at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Grinold also transformed his role during his half-century career in sports information at the university, and the list of accolades bestowed upon him for his work is remarkable. In Boston and in nearly each of Northeastern’s athletic conferences, Grinold has been recognized for excellence in his craft.
A boat in the Henderson Boathouse bears Jack and Cathy Grinolds’ names. For the man who some called “Mr. Northeastern Rowing,” perhaps there’s no better place for his legacy to live on than the waters of the Charles River.
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