April 22, 2010
Athens, Ohio - Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus announced Thursday that the department and Ohio men's basketball coach John Groce have agreed in principle to a two-year contract extension that will give the coach a five-year deal through 2014-15.
"I am very pleased to be able to extend John's contract," said Schaus. "He and his staff have done a tremendous job. John truly understands how to build a successful program. The national exposure generated by our conference championship and success in the NCAA Tournament has also provided many benefits to our university. Our future is very bright under his leadership."
Groce is 37-32 in his first two seasons in Athens and led the Bobcats through a magical 2010 postseason. Ohio rampaged through the MAC Tournament as the ninth seed, defeating second-seeded Akron 81-75 in overtime to capture the program's fifth MAC Championship. The Bobcats then drew the 14th seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament and promptly stunned the college basketball world with a 97-83 drubbing of third-seeded Georgetown.
During the 2009-10 season, the Groce-led Bobcats led the Mid-American Conference in scoring (74.7 points per game), scoring margin (+5.2), assist-to-turnover margin (1.11), defensive rebounds (25.08) and were second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.366), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.312), rebounding offense (37.1), assists (14.16), turnover margin (+2.51) and 3-point field goals made (7.51).
The season was not without individual accolades as freshman point guard D.J. Cooper was named the league's Freshman of the Year and to the CollegeInsider.com Freshman All-America Team. Junior guard Armon Bassett also claimed MAC Tournament MVP honors after averaging 29 points during Ohio's four contests. His 116 points and 49 free throws also set a MAC Tourney record. Bassett became Ohio's fourth Tournament MVP after Leon Williams (2005), Gary Trent (1994) and John Devereaux (1983) also snared the honor. Both Cooper and Bassett received honorable mention All-MAC honors this season.
"Obviously I'm thrilled," said Groce. "My family and I are excited about the commitment that Ohio University and the administration have made to us as we continue to build the basketball program. We appreciate the support of the Board of Trustees, Dr. McDavis and Jim Schaus. They certainly have, without question, been a driving force behind our success throughout the first two years. I'd be remiss not to thank my staff and our support staff. I wouldn't trade them for anybody or anyone in the world. They've done an amazing job in the two years helping us build a winning culture both on and off the court."
The NCAA Tournament win, combined with Ohio Football's appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, made Ohio one of just 13 schools this year to claim at least one NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament win and participate in a bowl game. The only other non-BCS school to accomplish the feat was BYU.