Greif gearing up for one more game

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By Goose Lindsay

Everything changes, but sometimes people wish they didn’t have to.

That’s the case in Rockwood as after 57 years behind the microphone, Tiger public address announcer Maurice Greif is retiring.

“I just felt it was time to step aside and let someone younger take over,” Greif said. “I’m 86 years old and when you get my age you just live one day at a time. Plus those steps to the press box get a little steeper every time I go up them.

“When I started doing this in 1953 I had no idea I’d be doing it this long. I never even imagined living this long. When you’re young you think someone that’s 50 or 60 is old, but now you know it’s the prime of their life.”

Barring playoff upsets, Greif’s last game at Civitan Field in the Maurice P. Greif Press Box will be Friday night at 7 p.m. when his beloved Rockwood Tigers host Oliver Springs in the first round of the TSSAA Class AA playoffs.

“I’m looking forward to Friday night and Rockwood being in the playoffs,” Greif said. “I’m elated with the success we’ve had this season and what’s been done in past seasons.”

Over the years, Greif has witnessed a lot behind the microphone, but he says the friendships are what he’ll remember the most.

“The camaraderie with people is what I remember the most,” he said. “When you do something for 57 years, you get to know a lot of people. I’ve got to meet a lot of coaches, film crew, radio crews, tv crews and a lot of players over the years.”

While the friendships are what he cherishes the most, Greif does remember one game in particular. and that game occurred on Thursday, Oct. 28, 1976, and it was between the state’s longest rivals, Harriman and Rockwood.

“That’s the most memorable game,” Greif said. “We beat Harriman that year, 7-6, and we went on to go 13-0 and beat Dyer County for the state championship.”

Greif let the staff at Rockwood know earlier this season that this would be it for him. In doing so, it gave the folks in Rockwood a chance to honor their legend. Before last week’s game with Harriman, Greif led the Tigers to the field and he was also honored at halftime before a packed house.

“That was awesome,” Greif said. “I had no idea what they were going to do, but they told me the boys wanted me to lead them out, and then they honored me at halftime. I was just flabbergasted. I was in awe when the crowd stood up; it brought tears to my eyes.”

Friday night, however, wasn’t the first time that Greif has been honored by the Tiger faithful. In 1996, he was also honored as the press box at Civitan Field was named after him during a ceremony at the Harriman/Rockwood game.

“My wife, Carolyn Bernard Greif, was still with me in 1996 and I was just praying that she could have been there last week. Besides the birth of my two kids, that night in 1996 and last week were two of the best nights of my life.”

Whoever replaces Greif in the press box will have huge shoes to fill, but Greif says his replacement doesn’t need to worry about his shadow.

“I’ll help whoever they get if they need training, but the biggest thing I will tell them is to develop their own style,” he said. “ I’ll tell them to stay away from play-by-play because the people there can see what’s going on. What they might not know is who carried the ball or who recovered a fumble. That’s what they need to let people know.”

Greif admits to having mixed emotions about giving up his announcing duties, but he says he’s still 100 percent green and gold, and he will always be a part of the Rockwood program.

 “I might be steeping away for the PA, but I’ll still be going to the games and I’ll find ways to help this school and these kids.”