Baseball Alum Jonathan Groth is Grateful for His Tri-C Start
Growing up in Chagrin Falls, Jonathan Groth envisioned himself at a big university, like his older brothers who played football and baseball at Bowling Green State University and Ashland University. But when he graduated from high school, he didn’t know if he wanted to attend a four-year university right away.
Although some people discouraged him from going to a two-year school, he seized the opportunity to play baseball at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
“It was a perfect fit,” Groth said. “It allowed me to grow as a person and an athlete.”
Groth attended Tri-C from fall 1980 through spring 1982, playing baseball for two years and earning an associate degree with honors in computer science.
“I’ve always maintained that you will get out of your education what you put into it,” he said. “My grades turned out well and I was able to move on to a four-year university.”
Groth, an outfielder, continued his college career at the University of New Orleans before spending two years playing in the Cincinnati Reds minor-league organization. Following his baseball career, he earned a Ph.D. in kinesiology from Texas A&M and began a 35-year career as an educator.
For the last 28 years, Groth has been a full-time professor in health and kinesiology at Tyler Junior College in Texas. He also served as head baseball coach for 17 years, leading the college to the 2007 NJCAA Division III national championship.
During his time as coach, he recruited and developed more than 150 players who went on to four-year schools and sent 30 players to the professional baseball ranks. His achievements as a coach earned him a place in the Tyler Junior College Athletic Circle of Honor in 2018.
He has won many other awards and honors, including induction in the Chagrin Falls High School Hall of Fame and the University of New Orleans Athletic Hall of Fame, as well as numerous awards for teaching excellence. He is very active in his community and church, and has been the featured speaker at many civic club and church events. He and his wife, Kitty, have six children.
Though his career has taken him around the country, Groth remembers his Tri-C roots. He is grateful to Tri-C for serving as a springboard for his career in higher education and college athletics.
“My time at Tri-C allowed me to get my academic footing and progress as a student-athlete,” he said. “The opportunities and challenges given to me by the faculty, staff and coaches were valuable parts of my journey to an NCAA Division I university, both on the baseball diamond and in the classroom.”
He encourages others to explore the opportunities Tri-C offers.
“Their primary goal is teaching and learning,” he said. “The academic environment is student-friendly and one that can offer a great transition to the next phase in your education. My journey wasn’t what I originally planned, but as I look in the rearview mirror, it was blessing at every stop and Tri-C was a big part of that. I am grateful I got my start at Tri-C.”