Throughout his life, Russ Grant enthusiastically encouraged others to play the sport that he personally loved and in which he excelled. Russ grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he and his brother Ed Grant regularly made headlines for their tennis achievements. Russ and his siblings built several tennis courts beside the family's Emsworth home. The courts were wildly popular, and they regularly disturbed the neighbors with the whack of the balls and the noisy coming and going of players and spectators to their quiet little street.
Russ served in the Coast Guard during World War II, worked for Johnson Wax Company, married Ruth Laird Grant, then moved to Parkersburg, just down the Ohio River from his hometown, in 1948. In Parkersburg, Russ worked for various businesses, including Park Chem Janitor Supplies, Grant Sanitor Service, and Grants Rental. He also was involved with property development along Murdoch Avenue. Russ and Ruth had three children and seven grandchildren.
During his tennis career, Russ, representing the North Boroughs Badminton Club, won the Pittsburgh city badminton title, the national YMCA badminton title, and numerous badminton events in Grand Rapids, Cleveland, and New York. Once in Parkersburg, Russ won tennis tournaments both in singles and doubles. His daughter Chris won the Jaycee's West Virginia state championship along with the Mid-Atlantic collegiate badminton championship and numerous squash contests. Russ' son, Russ Jr., played for the Wheeling Jesuit University tennis team while attending college.
Russ wrote regular articles on tennis training for the "Parkersburg Sentinel's Tennis School" column in the local newspaper. He also worked with the Wood County Recreation Commission as a volunteer badminton instructor, was an advisor to the Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Club, strung tennis racquets, and supplied tennis equipment to local players. Russ was a driving force behind the construction of the first clay tennis courts at Parkersburg City Park, a project to which many local individuals and corporations donated time, talents, and material.
After retiring to Naples, Florida, Russ volunteered his time to a local property development, World Tennis Center, where he also owned a condominium. He continued to play tennis as long as his health allowed. Russ died in August 2000.
In creating this scholarship, Russ' wife Ruth said, "Even though they may only hear his name and think of him as an old man who left some money, Russ would be proud to know that young people over the future years will benefit as they work hard at the game of tennis carrying on the game Russ enjoyed most of his life."