Boys hockey: Mayo's Grosso a math-ter teacher and coach
Lorne Grosso retired from teaching at Rochester Mayo High School at the end of the 1998-99 school year.He'll retire from coaching the Mayo boys hockey team at the end of this season, his 50th with the program. But the teacher in him hasn't gone away,...
Lorne Grosso retired from teaching at Rochester Mayo High School at the end of the 1998-99 school year.
He'll retire from coaching the Mayo boys hockey team at the end of this season, his 50th with the program. But the teacher in him hasn't gone away, likely never will.
Grosso engaged students for nearly 35 years in his Latin and Italian classes. After his retirement from teaching, he kept teaching. It began with one section of Latin at Lourdes High School that ultimately turned into three or four sections, simply because so many students wanted to take his classes.
After retiring againfrom teaching, he continued to teach. This time as a substitute and occasionally to help out a colleague.
With his ability to relate to teenagers, Grosso was a natural teacher of Latin and Italian and health. You name the subject, he would teach it.
"I've always been impressed with his passion for coaching and teaching," Mayo High School math teacher/boys basketball coach Shaun Lang said. "He and I talked a lot about what it's like to be a coach and about wanting to make a difference in kids lives."
Lang reached out to Grosso last school year, seeking some new avenues to get students interested in math lessons.
Grosso had the answer immediately.
"He had told me about a competition he'd do in his classes to engage students," Lang said. "He'd put them in teams, make up trivia questions and have fun with it."
Lang made up the question, then Grosso came to his classroom and ran the contest for the first time.
"In 45 minutes, not only did the kids learn some math, but it was the most engaged I had ever seen them," Lang said. "They were laughing the whole time. It was the most fun they had ever had in class.
"When the class was done, Lorne turned to me and said 'You can do that, too.' I said, 'No, coach, I can never do what you just did.' But that's what it means to him to be a coach and teacher, to truly make an impact on kids' lives."
In February or March, when Mayo's hockey season comes to a close, Grosso will leave as the state's all-time wins leader, likely with more than 700. He has 694 now, 78 more than one of his coaching mentors, legendary Edina coach Willard Ikola.
When Grosso started Mayo's program from scratch in 1966, he didn't set out to surpass Ikola's record of 616 coaching victories. He didn't think he and his wife, Joni, would spend 50 years in Rochester.
But Grosso has become synonymous with Mayo hockey.
"It boggles my mind and blows me away that he can be the winningest coach in the state, one of the winningest in the United States, that he can have that record and still be so humble," Lang said. "I'm sure he's the same guy today he was 50 years ago."