Era Ends as Cross Country Coach Takes New Job

by Br Fite

Grant Brothers Offer Appreciation to Coach Rightenour

GRAND SALINE—It is the end of an era on the Grand Saline High School Cross Country Team. For five years Coach Donald Rightenour has coached a Grant boy on the team. The Grant brothers Elba, Richie, Eric and Eden have regularly finished on top of the field in East Texas cross country events, even making several trips to regional and a trip to state, for the Grand Saline Indian Cross Country Team.
On Monday, May 18 the Grant brothers presented a plaque of appreciation for Coach Rightenour for his years of coaching them during his tenure at GSISD. Rightenour recently accepted a position at Mabank ISD. While at GSISD he coached Football, Basketball, Track, Cross Country, and Strength and Conditioning. He also taught Government/ Economics, World Geography, World History, Personal Finance, and Physical Education. Rightenour accompanied Eric Grant to many regionals. In 2016 - 800m UIL 3A Region 2 2:03.26 5th place, 2017 - 800m UIL 3A Region 2 2:02.26 2nd place and 2018 - 800m UIL 3A Region 2 1:57.44 3rd place 800m UIL Region 2. In 2018 State Championship 1:58.96 5th place. Eric Grant commented as to why he thought Coach Rightenour deserved the plaque, “Coach Rightenour is different from other coaches. He works out with you, motivates you, and challenges you mentally & physically every day. He saw our potential and helped us go beyond!”.
Richard Grant went to Regionals for 2 mile and 1 mile in 2019 at Wildcat Stadium Whitehouse, TX. 2 mile place and time 12th/10:57 and 1mile place and time 12th/5:03. Coach Rightenour deserved to be honored from us because not only did he teach and coach us but he was also our friend. He would push us to the limit and jog back and forth on the track to let us know what time we were at while running. No other coach has ever done that.” Richard Grant said.
Eden Grant commented. “For district I came in 2nd place with 17:30.16 and my team and I came in 1st place as a team which had never happened for Grand Saline High School in years. Because coach Rightenour have been pushing us to get faster.” Elba Grant, the oldest of the Grant boys, has only had Coach Rightenour for one year, then he got the opportunity to be assistant coach. “Rightenour was the one that saw our determination and competitive spirit for racing and pushed us above our limits. Trained with us during the summer with long distance running and hours of workout training us to be our best.” Elba Zahler-Grant
On April 21, 2016, Elba’s last year to run, the boys attended UIL 3A Area 13/14 at Mineola High School, Richard Grant placed 6th in the 3200 Meter with 11:46.08a, and for the 800 Meter Eric place and time 2nd/2:01.61a and Elba Grant place and time 6th with 2:08.67a.
Coach Rightenour commented on receiving the plaque, “I’ve had a great five years here at Grand Saline ISD. I've learned a lot from my peers and students. I’ll definitely never forget the Grant Bros. Each one of them has shown outstanding work ethic and has been a privilege to coach them along with many other Student athletes at Grand Saline ISD.”
As the new school year begins so will a new era in cross country running, but the Grants will forever remember the coach who stood beside them as they racked up the miles and medals running cross country wearing Indian orange and black.