Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

William "Johnny" Grinnell

William "Johnny" Grinnell


  • Position: End
  • School: Tufts
  • High School: Medford, MA (Bridgton Academy)
  • Years: 1932-1934
  • Inducted: 1997
  • Place of Birth: Boston, MA
  • Date of Birth: Dec 29, 1909
  • Place of Death: Centerville, MA
  • Date of Death: Jun 25, 1997
  • Jersey Number: 21
  • Height: 5-9
  • Weight: 158

Member Biography

William G. "Johnny" Grinnell played three years at end, 1932-34, for the Tufts Jumbos. He stood 5-9 in height, weighed 158, and called plays from his end position. In 1934 the Associated Press picked its first Little All-America. Grinnell made it, along with players from Davidson, Gonzaga, and similar schools. The Jumbos won close games. In 1934 they finished 8-0, winning two games by 7-0, two by 6-0, and one by 7-6. On the season they scored 91 points to opponents' 9. Tufts awarded only 14 letters that year. In Grinnell's first two years Tufts went 11-3-2, won games by 6-0, 6-2, 6-3, and had ties of 0-0 and 9-9. After his college days Grinnell coached at three Massachusetts high schools--Lexington, Wilmington and Brookline. He served in the Navy in World War II as a lieutenant. In 1946-48 he was football and basketball coach at Northeastern University. He was the first president of the Tufts Jumbo Club. His election to the College Football Hall of Fame was saluted by Rocky Corzo, Tufts director of athletics: "A tremendous honor for him and the university. It's like having one of your professors win the Nobel Prize." Grinnell died June 25, 1997 , at age 87.