Dan Gritti – A Man With a Big Heart
Dan Gritti graduated with honor from Everett High School and Boston College. Following that path, he established himself as a lawyer but soon realized there was more to life than sitting behind a desk all day long.
He was an enthusiastic volunteer on local ice hockey and football teams and an active member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 37 in North Andover.
Early Life and Education
Gritti was raised in an academic and sports-loving family. At Vanderbilt University he studied political science and U.S. history before continuing on to the University of Wisconsin law school where he graduated with his Juris Doctorate degree. Following law practice for six years he decided to change careers entirely by becoming a college football coach.
While at Millikin, he led his defense team to achieve all-time top ten rankings for several defensive categories including sacks and tackles for loss. Furthermore, he helped them win both a NESCAC league championship as well as national top-ten rankings for punts blocked.
He has brought those same qualities to Rhodes College, where he is building a team that emphasizes speed and athleticism over bulk and strength. His recruiting efforts span 41 states while his players enjoy an outstanding experience under him.
Gritti served as the head coach of Millikin Big Blue football from 2016-2021 and led them to their best conference record ever during this time – including an upset win against an nationally-ranked opponent! The Big Blue finished 2017 with a 7-3 mark.
Gritti holds an overall coaching record of 56-44 after 11 seasons. At Rhodes College Lynx from 2011-15, he led them to two back-to-back 8-2 campaigns – 2013 and 2014. Additionally, his defenses were often among the best in NCAA Division III.
He has served as coach at both the University of Chicago and Middlebury College. Additionally, he holds a master’s degree in education and is certified as a tobacco treatment specialist as well as being trained in acupuncture detoxification.
Achievement and Honors
Dan Gritti had an extraordinary heart. A beloved member of our community and beyond, he had many close connections throughout the U.S.
Dan Gritti had earned both his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt and law degree from Wisconsin; as an experienced corporate lawyer he found satisfaction working on cases but something was missing for him. Coaching offered an escape route as it enabled him to develop relationships with players while sharpening his hypervigilant attention to detail skills.
Over his 11-year head coaching tenure at Rhodes College and Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois – where he helped lead both defenses to conference championship seasons – he earned an overall 56-45 record as head coach. Additionally, he held special teams coordinator roles at both universities while serving as special teams coordinator at University of Chicago and Middlebury College.
After six seasons as head coach of Millikin University’s football program, Dan Gritti has left to explore new opportunities. Athletic director Craig White will immediately start searching for his replacement.
Gritti fostered strong player-coach relationships during his tenure and recruited two of the largest and geographically most diverse classes ever seen by the program. Additionally, his tenure saw higher team grades and higher revenues that contributed to funding a FieldTurf field, weight room facility for athletic varsity sports teams and endowing academic scholarships.
Gritti remained close to his family and attended dance recitals and school events attended by his granddaughters regularly. Additionally, he volunteered his services as a youth sports coach. Gritti was an active member of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) chapter 37 in North Andover where he served as commander. He lived up to their motto of helping build better lives for American disabled veterans – we will miss him dearly.
Gritti led the Lynx to two 8-2 seasons during his time there and served as defensive coordinator at both University of Chicago and Middlebury College.
Eugene Levy first rose to fame as Jason Biggs’ father in the American Pie series of comedies, appearing in eight films and earning over $100 Million total. Additionally, he wrote scripts for numerous TV shows and movies as an author.
He is survived by his wife Kara Fox Gritti, sons Dan Gritti Jr. and Stephen Gritti, grandchildren Harper and Neely, his mother Mary, sisters Theresa and Lisa and nephew Adam Lattanzi. Memorial donations may be made in his name to Disabled American Veterans 45 Heywood Road Acton MA 01720 for memorial tributes.