Grossmont’s original football coach returns to the sidelines

David Hurst

David Hurst
David Hurst

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — During Grossmont’s recent loss to Saddleback College, Bob Rump could be seen roaming the sidelines. It seemed as if every Grossmont affiliated individual stopped and exchanged pleasantries and well wishes with one of the original Grossmont Griffins. When Grossmont opened 50 years ago, Rump served as a staff member for the football and tennis teams. “I came down when the school originally opened, It’s been an interesting career out here,“ he said.

Along with having coached the football and tennis teams, Rump has also been Grossmont’s athletic director. Even now, five decades later, Rump still teaches tennis classes part-time. “I’ve always loved the school and loved my job here; is a big part of me.”

Coach Rump is originally from Freemont, Nebraska, a town nestled between big city Omaha and college-football-crazed state capital Lincoln, the home of the University of Nebraska and the storied Cornhusker football team. Rump was a member of the Cornhuskers team in 1949 before serving in the Korean War for four years. Upon returning from war, he finished college at Midland University in Nebraska.

While at Midland U, Rump played tennis, basketball and football–at one point playing against legendary Nebraska coach and State Senator Tom Osbourne. Osbourne “played for Hastings College in Nebraska. He was a tight end and a great basketball player.”

After being graduated from Midland, Rump answered newspaper ad for a Graduate Teaching Assistant at UCLA in the physical education department. The successful applicant would also help out with the tennis team. He applied for it and got it.

Having recently married, Rump left with his wife and two year old daughter and headed to Tinsel town. While at UCLA, he finished his Master’s degree in two years and then took a job at William S. Hart High School in Newhall, California. “We ran the single wing offense there and had great teams.”

Next, Rump took a job at Citrus College in Glendora, California, where he coached football and tennis for two seasons. Then he got a fateful call from an acquaintance who happened to be the president of a new college called Grossmont. He accepted an employment and the rest is history.

When asked about the rare combination of coaching tennis and football, he answered with a chuckle that he would “catch flack” for it. However, he added, “My tennis teams were awful good; part of that was because of the discipline and conditioning we did with a football mentallty.” Under Coach Rump, Grossmont’s men’s tennis team won the 1986 state championship. Four years later he switched over to the women’s tennis team and won four more state championships.

Today, when coach Rump walked onto the familiar turf, he was met with a 21-3 Saddleback lead over his beloved Griffins. He acknowledged that, “Saddleback looks awful good–they’ve always been good.” It would have been hard to find a more vested spectator on that particular Saturday at Grossmont’s Mashin-Roth Stadium.

He didn’t let the outcome of the game against the #1 ranked community college team in the state dampen his hopes of a great season for the Griffins. “They got off to a rough start with losses to Mesa and Southwestern College,” he commented. “They would beat those teams if they were to play them again–that’s for sure. We’ve really improved a lot.”

During our conversation, a Saddleback receiver dropped a pass in the end zone. Coach Rump let out a triumphant yell, and then, with a priceless smirk, blurted, “I jinxed that guy!” You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take the coach out of Coach Rump.
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Hurst is managing editor of the GC Summit. He may be contacted at [email protected]