A Tribute to Coach Mike Groshon, '76
"Mike Groshon dedicated his life to our school, our cadets, our mascots, and our athletic programs. There is no way that I can put into words how much he will be missed by me and the entire Citadel family."
Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, President
Photographs by Leigh Webber for Charleston magazine
Mr. Michael Douglas Groshon, Citadel Class of 1976, was a lifelong Bulldog and one of The Citadel’s most loyal alumni, employees, and friends. He was 62 years old when he lost his battle with leukemia on Nov. 11, 2016.
As a cadet, Mike was an avid tennis player and member of the tennis team. A member of Palmetto Company, he graduated from The Citadel with a degree in business administration in 1976. He worked for several businesses before returning to become a member of the college's athletics staff on July 15, 1981.
He eventually became "Coach Mike," a loyal and beloved member of The Citadel family. As a 35-year employee of the college, and an alumnus, he was a friend, colleague and servant-leader to many. (Photo right courtesy of The Post and Courier).
Mike was a facilities manager, equipment manager, and a field maintenance expert who was passionate about keeping the field at Johnson Hagood Stadium, as well as Summerall Field, in top condition. He was a mentor and tennis coach to cadets, earning the Southern Conference title of Coach of the Year in 2000. He was a sailor and enjoyed teaching cadets how to sail in earlier years.
But Mike Groshon was perhaps best known as the “dad” and guardian to the college’s mascots. The Class of 2003 created the college’s live-mascot program (before the program dogs had been loaned by fans and alumni since the 1920s). Mike made the program possible. He lived with the mascots on campus, cared for them, took them to games, appearances, photo shoots (the dogs were often adorned with bandanas or hats), vet appointments and even to see Santa.
Mike maintained a Facebook page about their adventures, raised them from pups, tried not to laugh when they turned the wrong way their first time at parade, and mourned deeply at their passing with General Thomas Curtis Mesker dying in Mike's arms in 2015. General was interred in The Citadel Mascot Memorial and Columbarium, which was a project Mike undertook and completed in 2015 after several years of fundraising. One of his final gifts to the mascots was a jeep he provided just for them, driving them around proudly for visits with fans.
“We are all saddened by the loss of Mike Groshon. He devoted most of his life to The Citadel and cared deeply about the institution, athletics and people that he encountered throughout his time here. His affiliation with the college began in the 1970s as a cadet, and his dedication improved many different areas of the college. He worked behind the scenes in many roles, taking great pride in preparing each of our athletic playing surfaces for competition, but he also took on a public role as our live mascot guardian. Mike worked tirelessly to ensure our live bulldogs had the best care. The dogs were like his children, and he was a proud papa when he would show them off at games, parades and community events. We will never be able to replace Mike’s presence in our athletic department, but we are certainly better because he chose The Citadel. He will be missed but not forgotten.”
Jim Senter, The Citadel Athletic Director
Service and Remembrances
The memorial service for Mr. Groshon was held on Nov. 17, 2016 at Summerall Chapel. For those wishing to contribute in his memory, in lieu of flowers contributions may be made to The Mike Groshon ’76 Memorial Scholarship care of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation, (843) 953-5277, or to the Bulldog Mascot Enhancement Fund, through The Citadel Foundation, (843) 953-5297.
View the Citadel Athletics news release by clicking here.
SHARE MEMORIES AND PHOTOS BY SENDING THEM TO REMEMBERINGMIKE@CITADEL.EDU
Memories About Mike
The Citadel has lost its most loyal fan and dedicated employee. You will be missed so much and The Citadel won't be the same without you. Rest In Peace Mike Groshon. The Citadel Brigadier Foundation
Today we lost the biggest 'bulldog' that ever lived, Mike Groshon. He made it all possible. Possible for The Citadel to have one of the most unique and successful live bulldog mascot programs ever - among the 21 other bulldog mascot universities. But more importantly to me, he made it possible to find my true passion. If it wasn't for Mike, I would have never been exposed to this kind of English Bulldog love and constant humor - 24/7. In honor of Mike, let's all hug up on our bullies and prayers for Boo X and G2, who miss him more than ever. Kathleen Cartland, Executive Director for the Charleston Area sports Commission, Citadel Graduate College Class of 1997, Citadel Alumni Association District Treasurer
A short time ago our friend Mike Groshon, dad to The Citadel Mascots, was called home. It was a privilege to have known such a wonderful, caring gentleman who shared our passion for bulldogs and was committed to helping Georgia English Bulldog Rescue save as many as possible. Our deepest condolences to Mike's family, friends and of course, The Citadel. Georgia English Bulldog Rescue
He's been almost like a father figure. He comes up and stays with our family at Christmas, and my kids love him. Drew Takach, '02, speaking from Columbia to The Post and Courier
I'm not sure the world has known a nicer man. I am so incredibly sad to hear this news. Ashley Townsend
Sad, sad news. He's playing fetch with his Lab, Dixie, again tonight, though. Donna Morand Lindecamp
We will miss you Mike. Thank you for all you have done for the Citadel, The Mascots, and all Bullies. Amanda Maybank
RIP Mike. You were an incredible man and your dedication to The Citadel and those pups was amazing. You will be forever missed. Steven Rudnicki
RIP Dearest Mike. Our hearts are so broken. You were truly a great man. Your dedication to The Citadel and love for the bullies were so inspiring. You will be truly missed. Karry Gable Bellamy
Coach Groshon showed me and many of my good buddies the secret spots on the Ashley and Cooper rivers to welcome us to the low country. I appreciate you for not firing me after I let General loose at FSU and chase their players...and getting me that picture with all the FSU cheerleaders! Your service to The Citadel Mascots was unprecedented and will be remembered for many years. Rest easy and GO DOGS. Austin Neal
RIP, so sad, what a wonderful man. Will be missed. Elizabeth Libby M
He will be missed! I hope someone is giving Boo X and G2 lots of love and extra attention because those 2 dogs will have a tough time without their favorite guy there! RIP Mike. Laura Lynn Venters Wood
I know what an impact he had on the Citadel football team! But I will remember him for bringing the Gray Ghost to the SOID family. He will be greatly missed! Angie Fitzhugh Bowen
I first met Mike when he was recruiting for an extra football equipment manager in early September 1985, my knob year at The Citadel. I worked for him for about two months, but never forgot his attention to detail or tireless work ethic. I reconnected with Mike, many years later, when he became the caretaker of the Bulldog Mascots. That kicked off a wonderful friendship, as my wife and I decided to start a fund to assist him with the expenses of the pups. We were thrilled to be able to go visit with him, regularly, during his first stint as a proud "Grandpa" of bulldog puppies. The hours he put into that was incredible. My wife and I would visit with Mike whenever on campus or at various events. We also made it a point to go visit him and the Bulldogs at halftime of every home game. The last two, we missed him terribly. Mike's passing is a great loss to The Citadel as an institution and an even bigger loss to The Citadel Family. As shy as he could be, Mike became a brand ambassador through his beloved Bulldog Mascots. His spirit will live on through them, but there is a void in our hearts that will not be filled. We love you, Mike! Paul Tamburrino, Class of 1989
Coach Groshon was one of the key facilitators of providing Citadel Lacrosse with access to Johnson Hagood Stadium for home games starting with our SOWF fundraiser game against VMI in 2012, mostly I'm sure because he was tired of seeing us tear up his pride and joy Summeral Field! He always supported us in preparing the field and locker rooms before game time most of which was done after regular working hours. Our Cadet Athletes, parents and opposing teams were given a tremendous collegiate lacrosse experience because of Mike's love and support of Cadets and their endeavors. Michael Grimm, former Citadel lacrosse head coach
We were so proud to have known Mike for so many years! He was a true friend of the animals at the shelter. Every year he would round up General and Boo and bring a huge truckload of food to the Charleston Animal Society to help the less fortunate dogs and cats in our community! He was an integral part of our Chili Cook off which was held at The Citadel for the last two years! He was an amazing man and passionate about his dogs and the students at the The Citadel It was a privilege to have known such a wonderful, caring gentleman! The Charleston Animal Society, sends our deepest condolences to Mike's family, friends, his dogs and the students at The Citadel. Kay Hyman
There will never be a more dedicated person to The Citadel than Mike Groshon. I first met Mike when Georgia Southern played The Citadel in 1990. From that day on Mike and I became close allies in the football world. As equipment managers and field directors, we always had a great time when our teams met on the gridiron. RIP my very good friend. Roger Inman, Retired Athletic Facilities Consultant, Georgia Southern University
(More memories to be added as received)
Video of Mike Groshon taking Boo X to the veterinarian courtesy of The Post and Courier