Posted at: 05/03/2013 6:48 PM
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Lorne Grosso has been the only boys hockey coach Mayo high school has ever known, and after 46 years on the bench, Grosso is being given the John Mariucci Award.
Fitting, considering Grosso played for Mariucci at the U of M half a century ago.
"He told us one time - somebody asked him what happened if you got in a fight? He says, if I got in a fight, I would get knocked down and I'd get back up, get knocked down again, and I'd keep getting up until I won. That's just the way he was. He was tough," Grosso said.
Grosso uses that word a lot when describing his old coach.
Without the Godfather of US Hockey's advice, Grosso may not be preparing for his 47th year on the bench of Mayo high school.
"He said, number one, don't be friends with parents, because you might have to cut their kid, and then you have bad feelings," Grosso said. "And the other thing he said was make sure you have your own program. You have to run it as your own program and you'll be successful."
Success seems to come easy to Grosso, who's done his old coach proud by winning more than 650 games.
"If John hadn't given me a scholarship, I would never be in Minnesota. I would never have met my wife. I wouldn't have this family," Lorne Grosso said.
Amazingly enough, Grosso's former Gopher linemate and current Albert Lea coach Roy Nystrom has never received the Mariucci award, even though Grosso says he deserves it.
"I went to a game, and he says, congratulations on your award. I say, what award? He says, the John Mariucci Award. I asked, how do you know? I haven't told anybody. He says, I have my sources," Grosso said, laughing.
Grosso has definitely taken after his old coach in more ways than one. Not only has he become a legendary coach, but he has that gruff coach's voice, just like the Godfather.
"If he were here right now, he'd say, Grosso, you're so lucky. How'd you ever do this?" Grosso said. "He never would've believed it. And he especially wouldn't believe that Nystrom and I are both coaching against each other. He'd say, you guys are crazy. But we've taken after him."