Around the Region

Statistical rate of success: 100%

James Holley-Grisham's research involves analyzing movie scripts, not to mention opposing quarterbacks.
St. Lawrence athletics photo by Tara Freeman

When you interview a lot of coaches and football players, it’s not often that you discuss things such as “hierarchical cluster analysis.”

St. Lawrence senior defensive back James Holley-Grisham is one of the most decorated football players in the school’s history: a four-year starter, two-time all-region and three-time All-Liberty League selection, to name a few. The senior has school records in sight for both career interceptions and punt return yardage too.

But perhaps the biggest achievement in his young life came off the field this summer. The mathematics major, who has a double minor in accounting and education, traveled to the University of California-Berkley to attend the 24th McNair Scholars Symposium. At the conference, he presented research which involved, well, a lot of math and computer analysis. But basically, he analyzed 800-900 movie scripts for their text complexity to determine which genres have the most advanced use of language. From that you can determine which movies would target the widest audience. For example, horror movies have the least complexity and therefore a greater target range.

“Let’s say you want to take your family out to a movie and you don’t know what to watch,” said Holley-Grisham, who hopes to do postgraduate work in statistics.

“If you have young kids, they may not be at the intellectual level that the movies are (written at). A movie in the easier cluster analysis, would be easier for them to interpret what’s going on in the movie.”

Holley-Grisham may have two last names, but he is not the stereotypical student you would expect to find a liberal arts school in the northeast. The native of Rochester attended East High.

“It’s the inner-city school district of Rochester,” he said. “It’s a school district that on average has low scores and low graduation rates traditionally.”

But after a recruiting visit from coach Dan Puckhaber and a visit to St. Lawrence, the All-State and National Honor Society student found a home. You get the feeling that Holley-Grisham feels that there are more kids from inner city areas that could go private schools but never get the chance.

“The fact that he had the balls to walk into my high school to come recruit me,” he said, “I give him more respect than most coaching staffs and most coaches in general.”


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Jason Bowen

Jason Bowen has 10 years of Division III coaching experience at Wesley, where he was also the Sports Information Director. He currently provides color analysis on broadcasts of Wesley games on WDEL Radio 1150AM and has served as a staff and freelance writer for the Delaware State News in Dover. He has been a contributor for since 2006. By day he teaches high school biology. He is a 1992 graduate of and three-year letter winner at linebacker for Mansfield (Pa.) University.

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov
2011-14 columnist: Andrew Lovell


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