FORMER TT football captain Kenwyne Jones on Friday described former St Anthony’s coach Nigel Grosvenor as a mentor and father figure to him, labelling him as “my Sir Alex Ferguson.”
Grosvenor, 63, a recovering cancer patient, contracted covid19 over a month ago and had been hospitalised since. He died on Friday morning.
Grosvenor, fondly called Grovy by his peers, started his journey with St Anthony’s in 1983 and spent more than 30 years at the school. He was always one of the top coaches in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) as he turned the Westmoorings school into a powerhouse. He led the “Tigers” to multiple Intercol and SSFL League titles.
After leaving St Anthony’s a few years ago he spent three years with Queen’s Royal College (QRC) where he helped the school to creditable performances in the premiership division.
Several players he coached at St Anthony’s went on to represent the national senior team including Jones, Jan-Michael Williams and Carlos Edwards. Grosvenor was a physical education teacher and dean at St Anthony’s.
“Like myself and many others, Grovy and his family meant a lot,” Jones told Newsday.
Jones, a student at St Anthony’s from 1995 to 2002, made 91 appearances for the national senior team from 2003 to 2017. He was a member of the TT 2006 World Cup squad.
Jones said Grosvenor was not simply a coach. “He touched so many lives for almost 40 years. He has been a mentor, a father figure, coach, a teacher. I think more than anything he embodied what care is supposed to be. When you interact (with him), when you had the chance to be touched by someone like that, it impacts your life for all your days. That is the type of personality he is and he will forever be remembered as a legend, as an icon.”
Jones compared Grosvenor to legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson, who coached Manchester United for decades.
“For me, personally he is my Sir Alex Ferguson. The way that players feel about him and even people who are not players…it is a sad day for his immediate family, for the extended family, for the school family, for the sporting family, for St Anthony’s College. TT has definitely been blessed by his dedication, his talent, his ability and he will forever live on.”
Jones, 35, said after he left school he always kept in contact with Grosvenor.
Jones recently spent one season coaching under Grosvenor at QRC.
When Grosvenor reached out to Jones to join him on the coaching staff at QRC, Jones did not hesitate to help his mentor.
“One day I was working out at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and he happened to pass in and was like, ‘Kenwyne boy, what you doing? I want you to help me out at QRC?’ He asked me to come and do it and without a doubt (I accepted). He could have asked me anything and I would have done it for him.”
St Anthony’s principal Maurice Inniss, reflecting on the life of Grosvenor, said, “The amount of people he has touched as a teacher, but also as a coach (is remarkable). He was a big father figure to all the boys who he coached.”
Inniss added, “His impact on St Anthony’s (is tremendous) and how people look at St Anthony’s and the pride of St Anthony’s. His life impacted a lot on all of that and what you see at St Anthony’s.”
Inniss, the principal at St Anthony’s for the past ten years, said students put the school as their Secondary Entrance Assessment first choice school because of the rich football history.
The St Anthony’s principal said Grosvenor was not only a football coach.
Grosvenor was also a pan fanatic and would wear his All Stars t-shirt to school, according to Inniss.
“The entire country will be mourning his loss and we continue to pray and support his family in prayer because Grosvenor was not just football, he was All Stars…anything going on with All Stars the whole school had to know.
“From culture to sport and as a teacher, it is a lot of TT mourning his loss today.”
Inniss also said he was the “livewire in everything that he did.”