The news of the sudden passing of versatile athlete, coach, mentor and instructor Tom Berutti “The Bird” Grant Sr. spreaded quickly throughout the country yesterday.
The first international volleyball official, Grant, died early Friday morning in hospital. He was 71. Grant slipped into a diabetic coma shortly after he was admitted to hospital on Monday.
His son, Trevor Grant, said his father was weak and tired of battling. He thanked all for their well wishes and the many condolences that poured in from students, athletes and friends.
“After years of living with diabetes, I think he was just tired of battling and that fight came to an end this morning (Friday),” said Trevor.
“My father was a disciplinarian, a nation builder, who helped to mold a lot of the persons who you see running the country. Cynthia “Mother” Pratt was one of his proteges. He represented the country in every different sport from as far as track and field, softball, volleyball and basketball.
“One thing he enjoyed most was giving back and that was shown as an athlete and administrator. He held numerous positions in various federations and sporting reigns. I think his most exciting memory was when he ran with the Olympic torch. This was the first time the torch came to The Bahamas and he held and ran.”
Not only was Tom Grant one of the top sprinters in the country, but he is remembered for his outstanding performance in a basketball game. He scored 47 points for Pinder’s Barber Shop, which dominated the Priory Recreational League in the early 1960s.
Tom Grant was also a member of the St. Bernard’s Sporting Club and a part of the historic relay team that won the first international medal in track and field for The Bahamas, in 1957.
“I spoke to him last week because I was dealing with some business for him,” Trevor Grant went on to say.
“We actually spoke everyday. But whenever we spoke, we always cracked jokes. There was always something to crack a joke about. He was amusing, always finding something to humor me about or I humor him. Anytime something went down in sports, especially high school sports he would call and ask me if I heard about it and [about] my thoughts.
“Me and him had a very good relationship, as far as father son is concerned. He was one of the persons who led the charge and I followed. Basically everything that he has done, I followed in his footsteps. As a former president of the GSSSA and one of the leading coaches in the country, I too helped to mold men into being good citizens of The Bahamas and that was his motto.”
Tom Grant Sr. is survived by his seven children, two girls and five boys, all of whom have played on national teams in the past. He was a leader in the community. His funeral service will be held at St. Joseph Church, on Boyd Road.
• Guardian Sports would like to send heartfelt condolences to the Grant family. Tom Grant Sr. was instrumental in the development of sports in the country as an administrator and athlete. It was a joy covering him and we thank him for his many contributions to the sporting world.