Dick Groat’s passing was a sad moment for Duke fans and everyone associated with Duke. He was the first truly great player Duke produced and the first to be a high draft pick as well (#3 by the Fort Wayne Pistons).
He chose baseball of course and had a superb career there.
Of all the Duke people who might have known him, possibly no one had a better chance to spend time with Groat than Pitt coach Jeff Capel.
In this article, he talks about forming a relationship with his fellow Duke alum and what it meant to get to know Groat.
Capel told TribLive.com that “[w]hen I was hired here, I got to know him on an even greater level. I had a chance to spend some time with him, talk to him and ask him questions and listen to him talk about his career.
“He was an unbelievable man, one of the nicest I’ve ever met. He was always so welcoming to me. I’m not really sure why.
“I wanted to know about his life. I wanted to know about his career, what made him go to baseball. I was fascinated with him. I’m fascinated with people, in general, but especially people who are great at something.
“I think great is the most overused word, especially in sports. But he was truly one of the greats.”
It’s a sweet story that you should check out. It’s pretty clear that Groat had a strong effect on people.