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Former athlete, parents react to resignation of longtime JU coach amid allegations of abuse

Longtime coach, Ron Grigg, stepped down this weekend after independent journalist, Sam Mathers, reported several allegations of abuse from former athletes.

Andrew Badillo

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Published: 10:56 PM EDT July 11, 2022
Updated: 11:39 AM EDT July 12, 2022

Longtime Director of Cross-country and Track at Jacksonville University, Ron Grigg, has stepped down after 20 years at the head of the programs. 

His departure comes days after several of his former players alleged he verbally abused them. 

"Over the past few days, there has been some very concerning information shared online regarding the personal experiences of some of our student-athletes while at Jacksonville University," JU Athletic Director, Alex Ricker-Gilbert, said. "The posts and comments have been difficult to read, and they have deeply impacted me and our Dolphin family."

"My first few meetings with Coach Grigg I left every one of them hysterically crying," former JU runner, Serena Gadson, said to independent journalist, Sam Mathers. "I’ve never felt so disrespected by a grown man, 18 years old and 117 lbs. and being told that I was gaining weight… being told that he didn’t recruit the person that he recruited in high school. Being told that the reason that I’m injured is because I’m gaining weight." 

Mathers has spoken with several former players who recounted alleged abuse by Grigg. Instances similar to those alleged by former Dolphin runner, Julia Pernsteiner, who reported the alleged abuse to the school in mid-October. 

Less than a month later, Julia Pernsteiner killed herself in her dorm room.

"You go into utter shock," Lynne Pernsteiner, Julia's mom, said.  

"It's not a call you ever expect to have it still to this day doesn't seem real. It feels like we're living in a twisted fictional story we just keep learning new things everyday and it makes things even harder."

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