Groce opts for the Ohio University job
The problem with having great assistant coaches is the fact that you know you are on borrowed time with them before they head off to take over their own program. That day finally came for Ohio State head coach Thad Matta as he saw longtime assistant John Groce take his own head coaching job with in-state Ohio University on Thursday according to sources close to the program.
The 36-year-old Groce had spent four years on the Ohio State staff along with Matta and was there for a combined team record of 101-35 but more impressively teams that Groce has been a coach of have reached the post season 14 of 15 occasions (Ohio State was ineligible for postseason play during his first year in Columbus).
Groce will take over for Tim O'Shea who resigned from the Bobcats to take over the same position at Bryant University. O'Shea put together a 120-95 (.558) record in Athens (Ohio) and lead OU to a MAC Championship, two 20-wins seasons and a pair of postseason berths.
The Bobcats will be replacing three seniors for the 2008-09 season including leading scorer Leon Williams who started all 33 games and averaged 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
Grove began his coaching career in 1993 at his alma mater, Taylor University in Upland (Ind.) under Paul Patterson. During his time there he was a part of teams that went 71-28 and earned two trips to the NAIA national tournament. As a player at Upland the Trojans went 86-18 and had three trips to the NAIA tournament. In 1991 Taylor went to the final four.
Groce and his wife of six years, Allison have a young son, Connor.