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Longtime coach Ray Groth finally calls it quits

Published December 26, 2013 11:16 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A man who has devoted much of his life to Utah high school football finally is calling it quits.

Ray Groth, Judge Memorial's offensive coordinator, is retiring, the school announced in a news release. Before joining his son-in-law James Cordova's staff with the Bulldogs, Groth spent more than two decades as a coach at several Utah schools.

"I love this game, and the players and coaches are the lucky ones to get to play and coach football," Groth said in the release. "I will miss every single thing about coaching. ... I will miss this profession."

Groth compiled a record of 119-114 during his 22 years as a coach in Utah. He led Highland to two state title games, in 2000 and 2005.

Cordova said Groth's leadership of the Bulldogs' offense, which averaged more than 37 points this season on its way to the Class 3A state title, cannot be replaced.

"Ray believed in those around him and pulled the best out of all of them," Cordova said in the statement. "Ray was part drill sergeant, part grandpa, and 100 percent coach. He is going to be impossible to replace as a coach, and he will be missed in every single way with Judge Memorial football."

Groth also had much success as a player and was taken in the 12th round of the 1970 NFL draft after a standout career at the University of Utah. But rather than try to make it in the NFL, he began coaching, where he made his biggest impact on the football field.

"To go along with [his] passion, he had a vast knowledge of the game," Judge quarterback Kaden Eliss said about Groth in the statement. "He taught me how to run the triple option, how to be intense, how to be a leader. Although he comes across as rough and edgy on the outside, a few times this season I got to see him cry with pure joy. To see that meant a lot to all of us on this team."

-Bubba Brown