Jan. 20, 2011: Quinn Grovey
Younger fans of the University of Arkansas football team might know Quinn Grovey only as the sideline announcer for radio broadcasts of Razorback games.
“Let’s go down to Quinn,” is among play-by-play man Chuck Barrett’s familiar refrains.
But for those who have been watching Razorback football a bit longer, Grovey is best known as one of the finest quarterbacks to ever play for the Hogs.
Grovey led Arkansas to back-to-back Southwest Conference titles in 1988 and 1989. The Duncan, Okla., native lettered four years while passing for 4,496 yards and rushing for 1,746 yards. He earned All-Southwest Conference honors in 1988 when he led the conference in passing accuracy at .633. He passed for 966 yards and four touchdowns that season while rushing for 515 yards and seven touchdowns.
A year later, Grovey accounted for five touchdowns in a 45-39 victory over a University of Houston team led by Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware. Those who were there will never forget the game.
Grovey later was named to the school’s all-century team and was inducted into the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor in 2001.
For his contributions to sports in Arkansas, Grovey is being inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. The organization’s annual induction banquet will be held Friday evening, Feb. 11, at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, and tickets are now on sale. More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the banquet.
In addition to Grovey, those being inducted from the regular category include famed thoroughbred jockey Calvin Borel, former Razorback football star and current Texas Christian University defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas, major league pitching ace Cliff Lee from Benton, former University of Arkansas running back Ben Cowins and former Arkansas Tech University football sensation Bill “Sleepy” Curtis.
The two Arkansans being inducted from the senior category are bass fishing pioneer Forrest Wood and former Razorback basketball star Jerry Carlton.
Those being inducted from the posthumous category are former University of Central Arkansas men’s basketball coach and athletic director Cliff Horton, former Ouachita Baptist University women’s basketball coach Carolyn Moffatt and martial arts pioneer Haeng Ung Lee.
The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1959. David Grimes of Conway is the organization’s president, and Ray Tucker serves as executive director.
A reception to honor the inductees and their families will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10, at the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum on the west side of Verizon Arena. Reception tickets are $30 each.
Tickets for the Feb. 11 banquet, which will begin at 6 p.m., are $100 each with tables of 10 costing $1,000. Those wishing to purchase tickets to either the banquet or the reception should call Catherine Johnson at (501) 821-1021 or Jennifer Smith at (501) 663-4328. Johnson can also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During his high school career in Oklahoma, Grovey was the state’s player of the year as a senior after rushing for more than 700 yards and passing for more than 900 yards despite missing two games. He led his teams at Duncan to records of 12-2, 14-0 and 9-4, winning two state championships along the way.
Grovey’s college choices came down to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas.
“It was a tough decision for me because I was coming from Oklahoma,” he said. “I felt like Arkansas was home because of the coaches, players and facilities. Looking back on my decision now, I would make the same choice 10 times out of 10.”
Grovey was redshirted his first year at Arkansas. He started three games at quarterback in 1987 and backed up Greg Thomas in the other games. Grovey led the Southwest Conference in completion percentage (61.3) in 1987, and his efficiency rating was second (126.1). He completed 38 of his 62 passes that year for 495 yards.
As a senior, Grovey finished second in the All-Southwest Conference voting to Ware with the conference boasting two of the best quarterbacks in the country. Despite finishing behind Ware in the all-conference balloting, Grovey can always say he led the Razorbacks to a victory over the Cougars.
Arkansas had lost to Texas the previous week and needed a win to keep its conference championship hopes alive. Houston, meanwhile, had defeated SMU by a score of 95-21 the previous week. That’s right – 95 points. Ware passed for 517 yards and six touchdowns in the first half against the Mustangs.
Grovey accounted for five touchdowns for the Razorbacks against Houston. He was 11 of 14 passing for 256 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards and another three touchdowns.
“It’s still one of the games I remember best,” Grovey says. “We had to get it to reach our goal of getting to the Cotton Bowl, and we did it on a tough stage. It was something we really had to come together for.”
Grovey remains the only Arkansas quarterback to have guided the Razorbacks to multiple Cotton Bowl berths.
“It is humbling because you know how important it is to the fans of Arkansas,” Grovey says. “I take pride in it for that.”
After leaving Arkansas, Grovey played briefly in the Canadian Football League. He returned to the state in 1994 for a job in the Wal-Mart corporate office. He later joined Home Depot as a divisional human resources manager.
“What I learned in football helps me in my job today,” Grovey says. “My position encompasses a lot of different issues. In football, I learned how to be a leader and deal with different people. I also learned how to have tough conversations when things aren’t going right. I understand how to put people in the right place and that if you are going to be successful at anything, you have to do it together.”
Grovey has now spent 13 seasons working on Razorback football broadcasts.
“Being able to do the radio is an awesome blessing,” he says. “I think you are starting to see a change in the game with NFL coaches coming in and bringing their schemes. The game is much different with the changes in size and speed. I’m happy I played when I did and not today. It’s probably much safer for me to be on the sidelines.”
Those who have followed Grovey’s career have no doubt he could still succeed in today’s game.
Grovey credits his years as a Razorback with helping him succeed later in life.
“If you do what you are supposed to do with all the prestigious alumni and companies that are in the area, you really have a great opportunity for your future,” he says. “With the fan support here, you have the chance to brand your name, and that goes a long way after school.”
Following Bobby Petrino’s first year as the head football coach at Arkansas, Grovey made a prediction: “You can see with the things they are trying to do that they know what they’re doing. It only will be a matter of time before it really starts to come together.”
Two years later, Arkansas was in a BCS bowl game. It seems Quinn Grovey is as good a judge of coaching talent as he was a football player.
– Rex Nelson