Gros Ventre Headed To Florida To Coach Elite Softball Team in Tourney

Gros Ventre Headed To Florida To Coach Elite Softball Team in Tourney
Albert Gros-Ventre (left) and Tyson Fox pose for a photo back in their Team Gro-Von days. Fox was one of the players to mention Gros Ventre, and has been chosen to be the Captain of Team Montana.

Albert Gros Ventre and “an elite group of guys” are making their way to Florida to compete against softball teams from across the country.

Gros Ventre, a local Crow Tribal member, has been selected to coach softball in the native division this weekend during the 2024 United States Specialty Sports Association tournament in Vierra West at the Space Coast Complex 

Coach Gos Ventre started his softball career shortly after graduating high school in 1985. 

Originally, he joined the Marine corps, but was given a medical discharge. When he returned home he attended Sheridan College, where he first began playing intramural softball. Two years later, he moved to North Dakota, where the softball atmosphere was a lot more competitive.

Once he returned to Montana, Gros Ventre continued playing. At some point, he asked himself why he couldn’t just start his own team. In 1991, Team Gro-Von was born. 

In 1993, the team was invited to the World Series event in Salt Lake City. Team Gro-Von has been across the country, to places like Myrtle Beach and Colorado Springs. 

“Team Gro-Von has been around,” Gros Ventre said.

Gros Ventre has coached softball teams for 26 years, retiring in 2018. Despite his retirement, he has continued to be a part of the game, sticking around as an umpire. 

“I just can’t let it go,” he explained. 

The years of experience made him an obvious choice to coach. The process of selecting a coach is led by players, Dan Waggs, the Montana state director for USSSA Softball, explained.

“I asked people who would be a good coach, who would know good players and would represent the community well,” Waggs said.

Multiple people pointed to Gros Ventre, and while Waggs had only met Gros Ventre in passing, he was aware of his reputation. 

“He’s a good representative of Montana softball, Waggs said.

Gros Ventre himself described his reaction to being chosen. 

“I’m truly, truly honored to be even just named, let alone selected to be head coach for this team,” he said, “I know there’s a lot of good players and I’m feeling very humble.” 

The selection process for the team was up to Gros Ventre, and he began by choosing Marlin “Deano” Yarlott to be the assistant coach. 

The team members were chosen with local tribes in mind. 

“I wanted to get a representative from each of the tribes in the area,” explained Gros Ventre. He was unable to secure a Blackfeet player, but has players representing ten other tribes. 

The team has not yet had the chance to play together, but have been practicing every moment they can. 

Once in Florida, they’ll have a chance to have some practice.  

“Once we get our guys comfortable in their hotels we’ll have them come out to do some batting, get used to the equipment and the climate there,” Gros Ventre explained. 

Once they get into the game, Gros Ventre explained their strategy will have to be adaptable.

“I’m not familiar with the teams we will be playing against, so depending on how they hit we’ll have to adjust our strategy,” he added.

The team will be playing in Florida’s Space Coast Complex on Feb. 2. Specific times can be found on the USSSA website.

Once in Florida, when they aren’t competing or training, Coach Gros Ventre hopes he can spend some time with his oldest son, who lives in Miami. 

“We’re going to try and get some time to drive out and see the ocean, just hang out,” Gros Ventre said. 

A video going into detail on each member of the team, created by Albert Gros Ventre, narrated by Ruben Little Head and edited by Christian “Supaman” Takes Gun Parrish is available on YouTube.  

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