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BYU's Jeff Grimes: A sweet adoption story, an Andy Reid connection, his career path and other things

Sarcasm about going undefeated and facetious, unbridled enthusiasm aside, a University of Utah fan asked a legit question in a tweet poking fun of the reaction to the hiring of a new assistant coach at BYU.

Now that Ty Detmer’s replacement has been hired by BYU coach Kalani Sitake, many people are probably saying something similar to themselves.

"Wait. Who is Jeff Grimes?"

For starters, Grimes is now the Cougars’ offensive coordinator after spending the past four seasons as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at traditional SEC power LSU.

So, yes, Grimes was partial to blame — or credit — for BYU’s rough 27-0 loss to LSU in September.

Before delving into the football path Grimes traversed to return to Provo in a top position — after coaching offensive linemen from 2004-06 — there’s a sweet story about his family life that’s definitely worth sharing.

(First, grab some tissues and watch this touching video when you get a chance.)

Five years into their marriage, Grimes and his wife, former Texas A&M volleyball player Sheri Hermesmeyer, expressed to each other on vacation that they eventually wanted to adopt a child from another country. Jeff, who's from Texas, desired to have a multi-racial family after growing up in the South and developing "an enormous distaste" for prejudice and racism. Having a blended family would "make a statement about the way we should all view each other," he once told the (Virginia) Daily Press.

Each spouse came up with the desire to adopt from afar independently before this conversation.

“We had never even spoken about it before,” Jeff said in the pro-adoption YouTube video. “I think it was at that moment that we knew it was something that was destined to be.”

Over the years, the Grimes brought three biological children into their family — daughter Bailey (who posted the video on YouTube) and sons Garrison and Greydon — before the adoption process was finally set into motion.

The Grimes were told that adopting a child from Ethiopia should take eight months. The process was slowed down, however, as the family moved to different states three times — from Arizona (ASU) to Utah (BYU) to Colorado (CU) to Alabama (Auburn) — because of Jeff’s football coaching career. The couple faced another challenge when Sheri developed what she called “mysterious health issues,” included feeling weakened, slurred speech and difficulty breathing.

Concerned about his wife and the absence of answers about her health issues, Jeff asked Sheri a question she didn’t want to hear.

“Do you think we should go through with this?”

Sheri said her response was immediate.

“We absolutely have to go through with this,” she told him. “There is a little girl picked out for us by God and none of these health issues were a surprise to God, so we knew it was all going to work out — and that’s exactly what did happen.”

Jeff was out of town for his job when a woman called from the adoption agency, Children’s Hope International. She put him on hold while patching Sheri in for a three-way call.

“Then,” he said, “I knew something was up and my heart started beating pretty fast.”

When told that they’d been matched with a child, Jeff and Sheri both burst out into tears. Neither could speak.

“Needless to say, we were overjoyed,” he said.

Four months later, the couple traveled to Africa to pick up their daughter, Jada, and meet her biological mom. Jeff said she seemed “frightened” and taken aback at first as they held her. Things changed after Jada ate and then fell asleep on Jeff’s chest while he was lying down.

“A little while later … she woke up and looked at me and had the biggest grin on her face,” Jeff explained in the video. “And from that moment on, she felt like ours. We bonded extremely quickly.”

Seven years later, their love for their spunky 8-year-old daughter has only grown.

“She definitely lights up a room,” Sheri said. “She is one of those kids. Wherever we are, everybody knows Jada. She’s a breath of fresh air and so much fun. We were definitely blessed.”

Jeff also used the word “blessing” to describe Jada, who was loved by her new siblings and other family members and friends from the moment she arrived in the U.S. in 2010.

“I couldn’t imagine what our life would be like without her, what our family would be like without her,” Jeff said. “She’s made such an impact, not only on our lives, on our family, but our extended family and friends and everyone we know.”

The Grimes hope to encourage and inspire others to adopt orphans.

“There’s such a huge need out there for adoption. There are so many babies that don’t have the blessing of a mom and dad and home,” Jeff said. “I would just encourage everyone who’s out there to consider adopting for the blessing that it could be in your life and that child’s.”

While football seems trivial in comparison, here are some more things you might be interested to learn about Jeff Grimes:

• Grimes was an offensive tackle and four-year letter winner at UTEP from 1987-90. Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid was his offensive line coach with the Miners his sophomore and junior seasons. Grimes wasn't drafted but participated in NFL camp with the Los Angeles Raiders. He also went to camp with the San Antonio Riders of the World Football League.

• Grimes' coaching career began at Riverside High School in El Paso, Texas, high school where he was the offensive coordinator and line coach from 1993-94.

• Grimes' college coaching resume: Rice (1995, grad assistant); Texas A&M (1996-97, GA); Hardin-Simmons (1998-99, offensive line); Boise State (2000, OL); Arizona State (2001-03, OL/running game coordinator); BYU (2004-06, OL); Colorado (2007-08, assistant head coach/OL/RGC); Auburn (2009-12, OL); Virginia Tech (2013, OL); LSU (2014-17, OL/RGC).

• Grimes is 49 years old.

• His Twitter handle is @coachgrimey. (He still lists himself in his bio as "LSU, Offensive Line Coach.) His most recent tweet:

• Like Detmer, who’s from the San Antonio area, Grimes is also a Texas native. He hails from Garland, which is in the vicinity of Dallas.

• The Grimes family is Christian, but not LDS. (Head coaches at BYU are required to be active LDS, but not assistants.) Both Jeff and Sheri have gone on mission trips to Mexico. The couple met through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

• Grimes ranks No. 76 in assistant salaries in the nation, according to USA Today. His 2017 salary was $560,000 — only the fourth-highest-paid LSU assistant, by the way — with a max bonus of $75,000. (Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley is the highest local coach on that list. The former Highland High/Ute standout player is making $525,000 this season. None of the BYU coaches were ranked.)

• To spare you time on Google, know the following about Jeff Grimes:

He is not Rick Grimes, the hero of the popular post-apocalyptic zombie drama, "The Walking Dead" ... He is not Jeffry Grimes, an attorney in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania ... He is not one of the Jeff Grimes who is listed on a Facebook search, including the Jeff Grimes who’s wearing a Borderline Bar & Grill shirt in his profile pic or the bearded Jeff Grimes who professes in his bio to listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers ... He’s not the Jeff Grimes who’s been a member of a punk band called Shark Fetish.

• BYU coach Kalani Sitake on Grimes, who coached the Cougars' NFL-bound linemen Travis Bright, Dallas Reynolds, Lance Reynolds, Jr., Ray Feinga and Scott Young while in Provo:

"Jeff has great leadership ability and outstanding experience mentoring young men at the highest levels of college football. He has vast experience working with exceptional coaches and programs during his career, including here at BYU, and we welcome his return to Provo to oversee our offense."

• Grimes' statement on being hired by BYU:

"I am so grateful for the opportunity to work, once again, at BYU. It is a special place, filled with extraordinary people and a rich football tradition. I want to say thank you to President Worthen, Vice President Richardson, Tom Holmoe and Coach Sitake for having faith in me and granting me this opportunity.

"I recognize that with this position comes a great deal of responsibility to all of Cougar Nation. I not only welcome this, but consider it a privilege. My family and I are looking forward to returning to Utah and are ripe with anticipation for many great Saturdays in the fall in LaVell Edwards Stadium."

• Some of the respected coaches whom Grimes has worked with over his 25 years in the coaching business: Ed Orgeron, Les Miles, Frank Beamer, Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn, Dan Hawkins, Mark Helfrich, Dirk Koetter, R.C. Slocum, Ken Hatfield, Gary Crowton and Bronco Mendenhall.