WINONA LAKE — K21 Health Foundation, Grace College and the Town of Winona Lake held a dedication event for the newly refurbished tennis and basketball courts at Winona Lake Limitless Park on Friday, Sept. 30. The courts were dedicated to Dr. Mike Grill, former professor of psychology and tennis coach at Grace College.
Rich Haddad, president and CEO of K21 Health Foundation; Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College; Craig Allebach, Winona Lake town manager; and Becky Grill, widow of Mike Grill, spoke at Friday’s event. Following their remarks, former Grace tennis players Leon Brenneman, Andy Lewis, Doug Gossman and Jon Metz played the first point on the refurbished courts. Finally, a permanent plaque was unveiled by the tennis courts in honor of Grill and Dr. Kevin Roberts, professor of counseling at Grace College and K21 board member, offered a dedicatory prayer.
Haddad was a Grace College tennis recruit the first year Mike coached the team. “Mike and Becky were the most impactful adults in my life beside my parents,” said Haddad. “I know I speak for many of Mike’s players when I say that he changed the trajectory of our lives. While we can’t repay Mike for what he gave us, we can honor his life and legacy through this memorial.
The tennis and basketball courts were refurbished this summer with a new surface and fencing. Lights will be added soon.
“Mike Grill’s impact on Grace College and the Winona Lake community was tremendous,” said Katip. “He consistently put others before himself, serving and ministering to those around him. He was passionate about living his life for Christ and investing in individuals’ lives. Mike often did this through the game of tennis – coaching, mentoring and encouraging others in so many ways. Each of us who knew Mike is better for it. We are honored to pay tribute to Mike in this fitting way.”
Allebach recounted how Dr. Grill encouraged him to earn his master’s degree and teach law enforcement at Grace College – a class he still teaches today. “Mike made a significant impact in my life, as he did for so many,” said Allebach. “These courts are named after Mike as a reminder to us and generations to come of the significance one life can make in our town. It’s my hope that many will use these courts to learn and play tennis, as well as connect with their neighbors and enhance our community. I think Mike would be honored by that.”
Becky Grill described how meaningful the game of tennis was in her life with Mike. “We spent hours upon hours playing tennis together in Winona Lake, and Mike played the game until the end of his life. I will treasure thoughts and memories of Mike every time I see these courts. I’m so thankful to everyone who came together to remember Mike in this special way,” she said.
Dr. Mike Grill taught for 40 years and coached for 25 years at Grace College. He loved the sport of tennis and used the game to connect intentionally with others. Prior to his death in 2013, Mike actively served the community in a variety of ways. These included the Winona Lake Plan Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals and the K21 Health Foundation board of directors. Mike was a devoted son to Kittie and Eddie Grill, husband to Becky, father to Josh, father-in-law to Amy, grandfather to Anna and Ethan, brother to Steve, brother-in-law to Susan and friend and mentor to many.
The Dr. Mike Grill Memorial Courts are now open seasonally for public use.