Hampton’s Grob honored with ‘Badger’ Bob Johnson scholarship
By: Devon Moore
Sunday, January 7, 2018 | 11:24 PM
If you ask Dan Grob, Jr. what he truly loves, you'll get at least two things out of him.
He loves hockey (especially the Penguins). And he loves influencing the lives of others.
So it's easy to see why the 2017 Hampton graduate and hockey alum would take home an honor named after a man whose character and spirit reflected both of those ideals.
Grob, now a freshman economics major at the Michigan, was selected as the 2017 Bob Johnson Memorial Scholarship recipient Dec. 27 at a Penguins game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. The scholarship, valued at $5,000, is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Penguins Booster Club.
“It's definitely a huge honor to win it,” said Grob, a former member of National Honors Society and Scholar Athlete who also has taken home the Lady Byng Award, Talbot Award, Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award and Harvard Book Award.
“Just being in the stadium and to feel everyone there, go on the ice, walk through the tunnels below … it was a really cool experience.”
An experience made extra special given the organization awarding it. Grob's father, Dan Sr., is a Penguins season ticket holder. And while he credits his father with getting him on skates, it was the NHL Draft in 2005 that transformed his love for the sport.
“I would say this is by far my biggest honor,” said Grob, who stays involved in hockey, playing in an Ann Arbor adult league. “I think it fit me perfectly … When Sidney Crosby got drafted, that's when I started playing hockey. So just to be recognized by the organization I love is such an honor.”
In addition to his scholastic excellence, Grob was a solid hockey player for Hampton. He recorded 18 goals and 51 points in 59 varsity games over the course of his high school career.
“It would be a travesty, honestly, if he got overlooked,” Hampton coach Dave Anderson said. “He's definitely the most deserving guy. We're very proud of everything he did as a Hampton hockey player but also as a role model in the community.”
Grob's work outside the community is noteworthy. As a teenager, he traveled to Appalachia, providing roofing and other home repairs for families in need. This trip inspired him to join his father, a primary care doctor for Genesis Medical Associates, on a trip to Honduras to assist in providing medical care.
Taken as a sophomore in high school, the trip galvanized his penchant for altruism, and he credits his two grandfathers and father for adopting this tenet.
“Dad always told me the measure of success is not how far you climb up the ladder,” he said. “But how many you help up the ladder with you.”
This attitude is not unlike that of the late “Badger” Bob Johnson, who is known as much for his character as he is for his coaching contributions in college and the NHL.
“We kind of have a running joke around Hampton and the hockey community,” Anderson said. “One day he's going to be president. He has the right demeanor, mindset and is incredibly likeable and approachable.”
Grob thinks there's a little truth in a joke.
“Definitely,” he said with a laugh when asked about those prospects. “I would like to be involved in the public sector after being involved in the private sector. That would be so cool to be president. It would be a role I'd love to fill.”
Regardless of future endeavors, the coach that helped bring the Penguins their first Stanley Cup would be proud of what Grob has accomplished before exiting his teenage years.
“I think the thing about him is, he had a huge impact on hockey but was loved and revered for who he was as a person, how caring and kind he was,” Grob said. “The personal side of it is what meant the most to me.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.