News Item

Steve Grogan announces his retirement after 21 years in key Lander positions

April 21, 2016

When former basketball player Steve Grogan graduated from Lander in 1980, his main goal was to somehow get a job back on the campus he loved so much.

And he eventually made it back. After nearly 15 years working as a teacher, coach and administrator in the Aiken County School District, Grogan returned to Lander as the Director of Career Services in 1995.

Now, 21 years and two other key Lander positions later, Grogan has announced he will retire on August 31. Grogan and his wife Gayle will return to his hometown of Westminster, S.C. to work in a family business.

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“My goal if I ever came back to Lander (after graduation), was to do things for others that had been done for me,” said Grogan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and went on to get his master’s in the same field at Western Carolina. “I wanted to help students in the way I was helped. Coach (Finis) Horne and Jeff May were my role models and mentors. They taught me so much about life – how to treat people, give back to the community, and help others.”

In his two-decade career Grogan served in three positions that he was able to help faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Lander community – Director  of Career Services; Director of Development/Alumni Director; and Assistant Athletic Director for the Jeff May Complex.

 “In Career Services I helped students find jobs. Being Alumni Director was equally satisfying – working with alums and getting them involved to raise money to help students because some students are working one and two jobs to go to school.”

And then there was the 28-acre Jeff May Complex, which opened in 2012 and is home to the Lander baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis and soccer teams.

“The May Complex was really the big piece of the puzzle for Lander to grow,” said Grogan, whose job was to oversee the construction, then to be in charge of the day-to-day operations at the JMC. “We all knew this was going to be a very special place for Lander and the Greenwood community. It was Jeff’s vision. I knew the passion he had to make this place what it is. I really felt it was an honor for me to be a part of that and to see what we have and the impact we have had.

“It’s great to see what the Jeff May Complex is today and to know it is one of the premier facilities in Division II,” he added. “It makes you really proud.”

May, Lander Vice President and Athletic Director, cites that Lander is losing a valued employee.

“Steve Grogan has served Lander University with distinction for a quarter of a century, including his first four years as a member of some of the most successful basketball teams in program history,” said May.

“For the past 21 years, he has provided excellent leadership in a number of important positions at the University.  Steve is truly a renaissance employee – he can do it all and do it well.”

Grogan was a walk-on basketball player for the late Coach Finis Horne in the late 1970s.

“(Coach Horne) didn’t recruit me, I recruited Lander,” said Grogan. “Coming from a small town and not knowing anyone, the first time I stepped foot on the Lander campus, I felt at home. The faculty and staff always made me feel welcome and the Greenwood community was the same way.

“Coach Horne let me be on the team because I wanted to be a coach and I was for about 12 years,” said Grogan of his stints as a Western Carolina graduate assistant coach, then junior varsity and varsity positions at Midland Valley High School in Graniteville, S.C.

Grogan has mixed emotions about leaving Lander.

“I have lived here longer than anywhere else,” he said. “I am definitely not looking forward to leaving because of all the relationships I have at Lander and the Greenwood community. It is my turn to step up and be there for family and uphold the legacy. I will definitely be back (to Lander) a lot.”

He has been fortunate to weave through the innards of Lander and leave his mark in many areas that most don’t get the opportunity.

“You do not replace a Steve Grogan,” added May. “August 31 will be a bitter sweet day for Lander Athletics. I am sorry that my very special friend will be leaving us, however, I am so happy for Steve and Gayle as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.”