Below is a letter I unsuccessfully tried to get to Coach GrosJaques in 2009. My most sincere condolences to Coach GrosJaques' family.
Paul Kennedy, Serra class of 1959
April 20, 2009
Dear Coach GrosJaques,
I just want to thank you for making room for me on the Serra football team in the years of 1957 and 1958. There is no reason for you to remember who I am after all these years as my prospects of being any kind of a meaningful football player for your team weren't much. There wasn't much of a killer instinct in me as I had spent my freshman and sophomore years at Mt. Angel Seminary. Also, my dad passed away while I was in grade school so the manly rough and tumble part of our family life wasn't in my background either. When I showed up for my first football practice you must have wondered if I was going to be worth the laundry cost of my uniform. I didn't even know how to put my uniform on so that couldn't have been a very convincing either. Without Dick Carney and Jim MacDonald to help me with the pads and buckles I would have spent my first practice in the field house doing a Buster Keaton scene. It would have been easy and understandable for you to cut me from the team but you didn't and it made a big difference in a young man's life, mine.
Playing football for you gave me a lot of confidence that I didn't have then, and it also helped tremendously in helping me make friends at a new school. You put me in just often enough to earn letters in both years which meant a lot to me. I even have a memory of a good block that I made, that no one else would notice, to protect a Maury Doerfler run that gave credibility to me at least. It also meant something to say “Yes” when guys later in life asked if I ever played football. There's something manly in being able to say that because no one ever asks how good I was, thankfully.
I have been married to Susan for 42 years and she seems to be a happy wife without knowing much about my unimpressive football career. I retired in 1997 and started a nonprofit, after school drop-in center for teenagers in a low income area of Spokane, which I operated for ten years. You crossed my mind several times at the teen center as we had a basketball gym. We encouraged kids to get into the game and at least try to play. Most of the time the encouragement got them to keep trying until they had the ability to compete. What you did for me worked for them. I'm sure your technique will make the same difference in their lives too.
So thank you again for taking the chance on me. You made a difference in a lot of young men's lives in your coaching career, evidenced by mine. I hope you reflect back well on all that you did for the lives of so many young men. I also enjoyed your war stories in our history class so I also thank you for your service to our country. Thanks again.
Paul M. Kennedy
Serra Class of 1959