Curtis Granderson was born in Tchula, Mississippi. He developed a love for baseball at a young age watching his older brothers play. He began playing the game once he was old enough to swing a bat. He graduated from Tchula Attendance Center High School where he played baseball and basketball. He then attended Coahoma Junior College and played basketball for them before transferring to Mississippi Valley State University, where he earned a degree in physical education.
Curtis retired from the Chicago Board of Education where he taught physical education and served as dean. He was a respected disciplinarian for over thirty- four years. He also coached football, basketball, track, volleyball, and softball.
In 1974 Curtis organized the South Side Devils sixteen- inch softball team. They changed their name to the Hot City Rollers and Travelling All Stars in 1980. He has managed, coached, and played with them for nearly forty years. He has coached more than 150 players and the All Stars have played in parks all over Chicago. Thy have called Washington park their home since 1980. Although they have never won a championship, they have made the playoffs on numerous occasions and have played in state and national tournaments. In 2012 they competed in a national qualifying tournament. In 2013 they played in a national tournament at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 2013 they were honored as a team by the Sixteen-inch Softball Hall of Fame.
Curtis brings the same passion to coaching his team that he brought to teaching his students. He wants his team
to win, but he also wants to mentor his players into becoming responsible and productive men. He has helped his players find jobs and better housing and has encouraged many of them to return to school to complete their college education.
The team participates in Thanksgiving Day foods drives and other charity events through Life Choices We Make, a youth foundation founded by one of the team members.
As a coach, he encourages team
cohesiveness by hosting at least two or three events each year for team members and their
To help support his beloved university, Curtis was instrumental in organizing the Mississippi Valley State University Suburban Alumni Chapter of Illinois. He served as its president for more than twenty-three years. He is also an alumni hall of fame member and a board member of the MVSU National Alumni Association.
He is an active member of the Master Masons, Royal Arch, Knights of Templar, Sublime Prince of 32nd Degree, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of Mystic Shrine and a Grand Inspector of 33 degree Masons. He is also an active member of the Illinois and American Association of Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance.
Curtis and his wife, Mary, have been married for thirty- five years. They have two children – Monica and Curtis, Jr. When he is not coaching, he loves to travel to watch his son play professional baseball.