James Grandey, a 2011 inductee into the Muskingum University Athletic Hall of Fame, is entering his 16th year as head baseball coach at Bluffton University. He is confident that the Beavers are moving in the right direction. "We have worked extremely hard as a program during the past 15 years," explained Coach Grandey. "We have a strong foundation for the future. Through continued hard work and improvement, we will be able to take the next step."
Grandey's tenure has been full of highs and lows, including the March 2, 2007, bus accident that claimed the lives of five of his players and left many others sidelined with serious injuries.
The Beavers have created a reputation as one of the HCAC's top offensive teams under Coach Grandey. Bluffton continued its assault on the record book in 2015. The Beaver defense had its finest season in school history, topping the charts with 1,030 putouts, 464 assists, 43 double plays and a .963 fielding percentage that was only bested by the 1974 team. Bluffton also set a new season mark with 15 saves, four more than the previous record set in 2014.
A record seven-game winning streak propelled the 2011 Beavers to a school-record 19 victories and Bluffton followed that with another 19-win season in 2012. Following the two 19-win seasons, Coach Grandey directed the Beavers to their best season in Bluffton history, a 21-18 finish in 2013 and 12-12 mark in the HCAC. Bluffton earned its first-ever series victory over Rose-Hulman and first-ever sweep of Mount St. Joseph. The Beavers continued to impress in 2015, coming up just one victory shy of their first-ever trip to the Heartland Conference tournament while winning a school-record 22 games, including 15 HCAC contests!
Before coming to Bluffton, Grandey served as a graduate assistant on the Muskingum College baseball and football coaching staff as he worked towards his master's degree.
Grandey earned a bachelor and master's degree from Muskingum College in 1999 and 2002, respectively, and was a standout student-athlete while playing for the Muskies. As a senior, he earned first team All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors in both football and baseball and was named first team All-Mideast Region in baseball, as well. Grandey's academic career was just as impressive, as he earned Academic All-OAC honors as a sophomore, junior and senior and was named first team CoSIDA Academic All-American in baseball as a senior.
Coach Grandey completed a second master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University in 2012. He was recently named associate athletic director for development. In this role, James will work closely with the athletic director and director of development to plan and implement annual and multi-year strategies to engage constituents in ways that grow financial support for Bluffton's mission, programs and students—including both athletics programs and broader institutional priorities and fundraising effort. Specifically, James will work with coaches to coordinate the annual fundraising efforts of each team, coordinate the strategy for TEAM Bluffton's annual fundraising goals and build donor relations with alumni athletes, friends and businesses.
Grandey recently completed four years as a member of the NCAA Division III Baseball National Committee. As a committee member, his duties include facilitating weekly regional ranking calls to determine the top teams in the Mideast Region. He also served on the selection committee for the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament. Coach Grandey was the NCAA representative at the Mideast regional in May, where he was responsible for the management and administration of the entire regional tournament. He then represented the Mideast region at the NCAA Division III World Series in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Grandey resides in Bluffton with his wife, Jessica, 11-year-old daughter, Ayla Marie, and eight-year old daughter Lainey Mays.