FARGO, N.D. – Bison Athletic Hall of Famer Roger Grooters, a four-year letterman and head coach of North Dakota State University’s national championship menâ€™s cross country team in 1972, was killed Wednesday, Oct. 6, while riding a bicycle in Bay County, Fla.
Grooters, age 66, was on a cross-country ride to raise money for victims of the gulf oil spill. He was three days from completing his 3,200-mile trip from Oceanside, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., that started Sept. 10.
Grooters was hit by a pickup truck on the shoulder of the road and thrown from his bicycle just before 9 a.m. local time. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Grooters lettered in both cross country and track at NDSU from 1962 to 1966. He was the 1964 North Central Conference cross country champion with a time of 20 minutes, 59.5 seconds on a 4-mile course.
The head track and cross country coach from 1968 to 1974, Grooters led his Bison squads to six NCC championships and won the 1972 NCAA College Division cross country title.
He coached 10 cross country All-Americans at NDSU and eight other athletes were All-Americans in outdoor track and field.
Grooters graduated from NDSU in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and earned his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from NDSU in 1968.
He went on to earn a degree in educational administration from St. Cloud State in 1977 and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Nebraska in 1979.
The former executive director of the Academic Center for Student-Athletes at LSU, Grooters had also served in the athletic departments at Nebraska, Florida State, Michigan State and Southern California.
He is survived by his wife Vicki, seven children, and 11 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of Roger’s Ride Across America making a donation to assist victims of the Gulf Coast Oil Spill online.