Glover retires as wrestling coach at Grand Junction
Grand Junction High School wrestling coach Bud Glover has a friend who works at an assisted-living facility in the Grand Valley. The friend had told Glover of a resident who bragged that he was a state champion wrestler for the Tigers in the early 1940s.
Because of World War II, however, Grand Junction did not participate in the state tournament at that time. The resident claimed never to have received a medal for his accomplishments.
When he heard the story, Glover invited his friend to bring the resident to Wednesday night’s annual season-ending team banquet to celebrate the Tigers’ 2008-09 season.
At the banquet, the team awarded the resident a Grand Junction High School letter with the promise of a state medal to come.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Glover said Thursday after the school announced he was retiring as the Tigers’ head coach. “Sixty years (later) he can say, I was a Junction Tiger.”
It’s that pride Glover takes with him after two years as a head coach. Prior to that, he was an assistant wrestling coach at the school for 19 years under Gene Wilder.
Glover got his coaching start in the valley at Central, serving as an assistant for five years before working with Wilder at Palisade for five seasons. Both then moved to Grand Junction to finish out their coaching careers.
Glover retired as a teacher at the school two years ago before taking over as the Tigers’ head coach after Wilder retired.
The parents of both Glover and his wife live in the Grand Valley and need more time and attention, he said.
“Hopefully we get a little bit of traveling in,” he said of other plans for his free time. Glover works part time as a baggage handler at Grand Junction Regional Airport.
Glover was asked to resign at the end of last season by Grand Junction Principal Jon Bilbo, but after a campaign from the team, students and the public, he and Bilbo came to terms and
Glover agreed to coach the team for another season.
With assistants Cole Allison and Mark Schneider on board, Glover said he’s leaving the Tigers in a good situation.
“That was always my goal,” Glover said.
The search has already begun for Glover’s replacement.
“You need to make sure you get the right person, and we’re going to use Bud as best we can,” Grand Junction Athletic Director Greg King said.
“I told the program I’d help mentor,” Glover said.
After 21 years as a coach, it’s the wrestlers he’ll miss the most.
“(I liked) being around the kids and the exuberance they give you,” he said.
King agreed that was one of Glover’s best qualities.
“(With) his rapport with the kids, you could see he really cared about the kids and the kids really cared about him,” King said.
Glover will also miss the camaraderie he developed with coaches.
“I’ve built a lot of friendships all over the state,” he said.
He expects he’ll start missing coaching come November, when the wrestling team resumes practice, and in February, when regional and state wrestling time rolls around.
Until then, he’ll try to enjoy his free time. But don’t be surprised to see him watching from the stands this coming winter.
“I’m sure I’m not going to be far away from it,” he said.