June 27, 2008
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ATHENS, Ohio -
Ohio Director of Athletics Jim Schaus introduced John Groce as the Bobcats' head men's basketball coach at a news conference on Friday. With 14 years of experience as an assistant or associate head coach at the collegiate level, Groce becomes the 16th head coach in Ohio history.
Recognized in the last year by both Fox Sports and Rivals.com as one of the nation's top assistants, Groce (pronounced Gross) has reached the postseason 13 times in his 14 years on the collegiate sidelines. He has helped guide teams to a Final Four, two Elite Eights, a National Invitation Tournament championship and multiple conference titles.
Prior to his arrival in Athens, Groce spent four seasons on staff at Ohio State, the final two as associate head coach. During his tenure, he helped the Buckeyes to 105 victories, including a school-record 35 wins in 2006-07, a pair of outright Big Ten regular-season titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances, a berth in the 2007 NCAA National Championship game and the 2008 NIT title.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity to be the head coach at Ohio University," Groce said. "I appreciate the board of trustees, Dr. McDavis and Jim Schaus affording me and my family the chance to be part of the Bobcat community. We look forward to the transition and are very excited about the opportunity we have to positively impact the basketball program, the University and the Athens community at large."
Groce was also heavily involved in recruiting at Ohio State and played a vital role in bringing the likes of Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr., and Daequan Cook to Columbus, earning him the title of Rivals.com Recruiter of the Year in 2006. His 2007 class at OSU, which featured a five-star prospect and two four-star recruits, was also ranked sixth in the nation.
"What a great day for Bobcat athletics," Schaus said. "John Groce has long been considered one of the top assistant coaches in the country, and has been renowned for both his recruiting successes and offensive expertise. He has won everywhere he has been, he has coached for programs at the highest level and he has worked under some of the top coaches in the country. John presented the best vision and answers to my questions."
"It will be an easy transition for the Bobcat Nation to rally around his experience, vision and energy," Schaus said. "I am excited to welcome his wife, Allison, and two-and-a-half year old son, Conner, to Athens. The future is bright for Bobcat men's basketball under John's leadership!"
The Danville, Ind., native began his coaching career in 1993 as an assistant at his alma mater, Taylor University, in Upland, Ind. During that time, Taylor posted a 71-28 record and earned a pair of trips to the NAIA national tournament. He helped the Trojans to a 29-5 record and a No. 1 national ranking in 1994.
Groce broke into Division I basketball as a member of Herb Sendek's staff at NC State in 1996, ultimately serving as an assistant with the Wolfpack from 1996-00. NCSU earned postseason bids in each of his four years on the sidelines, including the 2000 NIT semifinals.
With his hiring at Ohio, Groce becomes the eighth former Sendek assistant to ascend to the Division I head coaching ranks.
In 2000-01, Groce moved on to Butler, where he joined Thad Matta's staff for the first of his eight years working with the current Ohio State head coach. With Groce on the bench, the Bulldogs captured both the Midwestern College Conference regular-season and tournament crowns, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Groce accompanied Matta to Xavier in 2001, helping lead the Musketeers to a 78-23 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in each of his three seasons on staff. The crown jewel of Groce's time in Cincinnati was a berth in the 2004 NCAA Elite Eight.
After starring for current Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter at Danville High School, Groce played basketball for three years at Taylor, helping the Trojans to a composite 86-18 record and three trips to the NAIA Tournament, including an NAIA Final Four bid in 1991. He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Taylor in 1994.
Born on Sept. 7, 1971, in Muncie, Ind., Groce and his wife, Allison, have a son named Conner.
THE GROCE FILE
Hometown: Muncie, Ind.
Education: Taylor University (B.S., Mathematics, 1994)
Collegiate Athletic Experience: Basketball (Taylor, 1991-93)
Coaching Experience: Ohio State University (Associate head coach, 2006-08) Ohio State University (Assistant coach, 2004-06) Xavier University (Assistant coach, 2001-04) Butler University (Assistant coach, 2000-01) NC State University (Assistant coach, 1996-00) Taylor University (Assistant coach, 1993-96)
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT John Groce
"John Groce deserves to be a Division I head coach. We're sad to see him leave our program. He's ready, and he's going to do a great job at Ohio University. He will be a terrific fit with a terrific program." - Thad Matta, Ohio State University head men's basketball coach
"John is one of the finest young coaches in college basketball, and has been for quite some time. He's a great teacher, fine communicator and outstanding recruiter. You couldn't ask for a better representative of what it means to be a college basketball coach than John Groce. I think the world of him, and I think he's going to be an outstanding head coach." - Jay Bilas, ESPN
"I've had the pleasure of both coaching John and coaching with John. His success is no surprise to me. He is knowledgeable, passionate and thorough. Ohio University has made a great hire, and its future is very bright." - Todd Lickliter, University of Iowa head men's basketball coach
"John is a passionate tactician and recruiter who will tirelessly work to advance Bobcat basketball." - Herb Sendek, Arizona State University head men's basketball coach