Reverend Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood
Women's Soccer Coach
It may be fitting that a man of many talents, also is a man of many titles. Robert Grove-Markwood graduated in 1971 from Oberlin College and went on to join the Marine Corps. That is where he earned his first title, as he reached the rank of Lieutenant. It was also there that he began his career in coaching, as he was a player-coach with the Camp Pendleton Soccer Team. He then went on to attend Bowling Green where he served as an assistant coach, and earned his Masters of Education Degree. After a year of teaching, he moved on to the Assistant Director of Athletics and Men's Soccer Coaching positions at Nasson College. Robert finally found his calling and received a Masters of Divinity Degree from the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1982. For three years he served a church in Ohio, he then returned to the Seminary as the Director of Admission from 1985-87. In 1987 he took a position at the Presque Isle Congregational Church, and in 1991 his path crossed with the University of Maine at Presque Isle when he volunteered as an assistant coach.
In 1992 Robert Grove-Markwood was presented the opportunity to take over as the Head Coach for the Owls Women's Soccer Team. Coming off of a 5-9 record the season before, there weren't many that could have predicted the Owls to have a break out season, except for Robert. "We are a much better team than last year," was his quote in the Bangor Daily News on September 1st, 1992. "The team was not a weak defensive team one last year. The defense did fairly well, but we're going to be more of scoring team…I'm very optimistic about our ability to score and move the ball." His preseason analysis turned out to be spot on. For the first time in school history the Owls won 11 games, set a program low in losses with four, scored the most goals in program history with 64, allowed the least amount of goals in program history at 17, and made the NAIA District V Playoffs, the first playoff appearance in program history.
The Owls under Coach Grove-Markwood had yet to peak. In 1993 the team not only qualified for the NAIA District V Playoffs, they would advance to the finals after a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory of St. Joseph's College. They would lose to the number one ranked Johnson State by a score of 3-2, but the 1993 Maine Athletic Conference Champions would end the season with a remarkable 13-3-2 record.
Graduation affected the Owls in 1994, and freshmen were asked to jump into key roles. Despite the obstacles, this team turned in another strong showing. In the Maine Athletic Conference Finals, the Owls once again met up with St. Joseph College and found themselves locked in a 4-4 tie after regulation. Two overtime periods were not enough to decide the outcome, so the two teams had to resort to penalty kicks. The Owls would come up short and end as MAC Runner-ups with a 8-4-1 record.
That experience for the young players paid off in 1995, and UMPI earned a second seed in the MAC Playoffs, which set up a rematch against St. Joseph. This time the Owls would shutout the Monks and advance to the finals with a 4-0 victory. The University of New England met with the Owls in a showedown that saw the two teams go scoreless through regulation play and two overtimes. Once again penalty kicks would decide UMPI's fate in the final. Even the shootout took to the very last round to decide as it took a diving effort to make a stop and one final kick getting into the net to crown the Owls as the MAC Champions. A trip to the NAIA Regional would fall short with a loss to Georgian Court. UMPI would finish with a 10-4-1 record.
In 1996 Grove-Markwood's squad would face some challenges as injuries plagued the team and the Owls dropped their first three games of the season. With the Coach's leadership abilities put to the test, his team would turn the tide of the season and would go 6-0-2 in their final eight regular season games. A playoff loss to the eventual MAC Champions would end their season. Coach Grove-Markwood's final season would end in similar fashion, with the Owls falling in the MAC Semi-Finals, but with his worst record, just shade under .500 at 7-8.
Coach Grove-Markwood finished with a 55-27-6 career record at UMPI. Four players that have plaques in the UMPI Hall of Fame played for Robert. Numerous players were not only guided by his teachings on the field, but also on their lives off the field as he served as a pastor during his time in Presque Isle. An extremely competitive man, he continued to play in the men's summer league until he was 50. Whether you call him Lieutenant, Reverend, Doctor, Coach, Teammate, or Friend, Robert Grove-Markwood is a man of many talents that has affected many live in a positive manner.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle is proud to honor Rev. Dr. Grove-Markwood and welcome him into the Hall of Fame. The Athletics Hall of Fame Reception and Dinner will be held in the Campus Center on Saturday, October 1st at 5:30 PM. Tickets are $20 and can be bought by calling the Athletics Department at 768-9506.