Check out this introductory video about J. J. Grant as told by those who knew him when and now!
Baldwinsville’s loss was Liverpool’s gain.
The Bees — even these 37 years later — remember how it stung when James Joseph Grant Jr. transferred.
J.J. Grant had already established his all-round athleticism at B’ville, setting New York State outdoor records by class in the shot put and discus. As a sophomore at L’pool, he won his first of three consecutive state shot put championships, continued to star on the football field as a fullback/linebacker and lettered in basketball.
Grant was so versatile, that his prowess in field events was somewhat by accident. He was a sprinter. But when the high school track was not yet ready, he practiced on the street and sustained an injury. Oh, well; why not join the shot-putters? All he did in 1985 was set a Penn Relays prep shot put record of 67 feet, 3 inches.
As a 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior, Grant was a Parade All-American football player and New York State Athlete of the Year. He was selected Post-Standard ‘Male Track Athlete of the Year’ in 1984 and ’85, and also received the Italian-American Athletic Club award in ’85.
He was the first — perhaps only — person to win four events (shot, discus, javelin, hammer throw) in the Empire State Games. He medaled, nine times, won seven Golds.
J.J. headed for Ann Arbor to play for Bo Schembechler and defensive coordinator/inside linebacker coach Lloyd Carr. As a pure freshman at Michigan, he sat out. In 1986, he returned 12 punts and played linebacker, as UM went 11-2 and shared the Big Ten title.
The following season, an injury caused him to miss double sessions. Still, of Grant’s 62 tackles, 52 were solos. But the team was — for them! — a disappointing 8-4 (5-3 in conference).
His junior and senior seasons were stellar, personally and team-wise. No. 95 made 142 tackles and Michigan went 20-3-1, beat arch-rival Ohio State twice, did not lose a Big Ten game and — in the collegiate swansong for co-captain Grant and coach Schembechler — defeated Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl.
Graduating with a BA in Communications and Media Studies, his employment has included Miller Coors, General Motors and, most recently, as Site Manager for Capstone Logistics in Cincinnati. Grant recently relocated to Seattle.