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6/27/2008 9:58 AM
John Groce  (United States)
College basketball: OU grabs energetic Groce
OSU assistant will be announced as men's basketball coach today
Friday,  June 27, 2008 3:14 AM
The Columbus Dispatch
<p>John Groce, lifting his son Conner, 2, helped elevate Ohio State as the top assistant to coach Thad Matta.</p>
NEAL C. LAURON dispatch

John Groce, lifting his son Conner, 2, helped elevate Ohio State as the top assistant to coach Thad Matta.

Those who have seen John Groce push himself to the limit on a daily basis say Ohio University has hired a passionate, smart and tireless coach for its men's basketball team.

Groce, the top assistant under Thad Matta for four years at Ohio State, three years at Xavier and one at Butler, will be announced as Bobcats coach today.

It took first-year Ohio athletic director Jim Schaus one week to find a replacement for Tim O'Shea, who left to become coach at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

It is believed Schaus interviewed four others: Ohio assistant John Rhodes, Michigan State assistant Mark Montgomery, Robert Morris coach Mike Rice and former Tennessee and Coastal Carolina coach Buzz Peterson.

Former Ohio State forward J.J. Sullinger said Schaus made the right choice.

"I don't know that much about Ohio University basketball, but now I'm going to be really interested in that team," Sullinger said. "Ohio University will be on the up. They made a good decision. Coach Groce knows his X's and O's, but he also can turn boys into men and turn good players into outstanding players. I can't say enough about him."

Groce (pronounced GROSS) helped get the Buckeyes to the NCAA championship game in 2007, a loss to Florida. Sullinger said his finest job might have come in 2004-05, when the team was banned from postseason play because of violations under previous coach Jim O'Brien.

"Coach Groce and coach Matta turned things around so quickly and we wound up winning 20 games," Sullinger said. "We had no tournament to play for, but we played hard and we played well. Coach Groce had a lot to do with that. He will get the most out of his players at Ohio University. Those players will be put in the right situation to win."

Earlier this week, Schaus said it was preferable that the new man had ties to Ohio or the Midwest. Groce fills the bill on both counts. He was born in Muncie, Ind., and was a star player at Taylor University in Upland, Ind.

Taylor coach Paul Patterson said Groce, 36, was a tireless worker as a player and graduate assistant. The team won 86 games in the three years Groce played. It reached the NAIA Final Four in 1991 when he was a sophomore.

"At one point, John was teaching math at a local high school and coaching three basketball teams," said Patterson, a member of the NAIA hall of fame. "John would coach the freshman high school team in the morning, help with the junior varsity after school and then drive 18 miles to campus and help coach our junior varsity. John was simply amazing. Now, there's a guy who wants to coach. The good ones are all like this. John stays after it. His engine is always running."

Patterson said he worried about Groce during preseason conditioning drills.

"We had to actually slow him down," he said. "He worked at his limit nearly every day. His energy level and enthusiasm are remarkable. He's a bright guy. He was an 'A' student here. He knows computers. He could have done a lot of things, but he wanted to coach basketball."

The turning point in Groce's career, Patterson said, might have come when he worked the Five-Star Basketball Camp in Pittsburgh as a young assistant coach.

"John was a volunteer, but one day a guy got sick and John filled in at his station," Patterson said. "Along came Howard Garfinkle, the camp director. He saw how John was running the station, and word quickly got out about the job he did. Howard Garfinkle saw all that energy. It was just John being himself."

Dispatch reporter Bob Baptist contributed to this story.


New Post
6/27/2008 9:59 AM
Re: John Groce  (United States)
John Groce file
Friday,  June 27, 2008 3:15 AM
• Born: Sept. 7, 1971, in Muncie, Ind.

• College: Taylor University (mathematics degree, 1994)

• Family: Wife, Allison; son, Connor

• Coaching experience: 1993-95, graduate assistant at Taylor; 1996-2000, assistant at North Carolina State; 2000-01, assistant at Butler; 2001-04, assistant at Xavier; 2004-08, associate coach at Ohio State


New Post
6/27/2008 10:00 AM
Re: John Groce  (United States)
Ohio State's Groce hired as Ohio head coach
Posted: June 26, 2008
Mike DeCourcy

John Groce, Ohio State's lead assistant coach since 2004, has accepted the position as head coach at Ohio University. There will be a press conference to introduce him Friday.

Ohio, which competes in the Mid-American Conference, is Groce's first head coaching job. He has served Thad Matta as an assistant coach at OSU, Xavier and Butler and also worked under Herb Sendek at North Carolina State.

Groce replaces Tim O'Shea, who resigned after seven years with the Bobcats to become head coach at Bryant University, a program that is transitioning to Division I this year. O'Shea made the move for geographic reasons -- he wanted to live in New England, and Bryant is in Rhode Island.

Groce has been pursued by other programs in the past, notably Murray State in 2006, but chose this opportunity because it allows him to continue recruiting in the areas where his contacts are richest: Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.

He had a lot to do with the recruitment of Greg Oden and Mike Conley, who led the Buckeyes to the 2007 Final Four, as well as forward Justin Cage and guard Stanley Burrell, who helped Xavier to Elite Eight appearances in 2004 (Cage) and 2008 (Burrell).

Under Matta, Groce was in charge of calling many of the tactical changes. He could often be seen on the sideline holding up a dry erase board with the name of the set the coaches wanted to run.

Once the most powerful MAC program, Ohio made one NCAA Tournament appearance under O'Shea, losing to Florida in the first round.

Groce's departure creates an attractive opening as Ohio State's top assistant coach. One candidate to fill that spot will be current Buckeyes assistant Archie Miller, a rising star hired away from Arizona State last year. But expect plenty of high-level candidates from around the country to express interest, as well.

Mike DeCourcy is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at [email protected].


New Post
6/27/2008 10:01 AM
Re: John Groce  (United States)
Groce's absence will hurt Buckeyes

John Groce has spent the last seven seasons with Thad Matta waiting for this opportunity. Now that he has it, the impact on Ohio State basketball could be greater than you think.
Groce is set to be introduced as the new coach at Ohio University today, replacing Tim O'Shea. Groce came to Ohio State with Matta from Xavier and has long been considered the Xs and Os man behind Matta's offense.
Matta is the recruiter and the energizer, while Groce is the tactical in-game master. It's often Groce, not Matta, who chooses the sets to run and holds them up on the dry-erase board during games.
Together, Matta and Groce led Xavier to an Elite Eight appearance in 2004 and the Buckeyes to the national championship game in '07. Groce was also instrumental in recruiting both Greg Oden and Mike Conley to Columbus.
He has long been considered one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the industry, but has been patient in waiting for the right opportunity. Apparently, he feels the Bobcats present that.
C.C. watch
In the weekly C.C. Sabathia watch, reports out of Yankeeland are the Indians are making a last-ditch effort at trying to sign their ace.
The Newark Star-Ledger, quoting an unidentified major-league executive because he was talking about players on another team, reported the Indians were dead set against trading Sabathia just a few weeks ago, and now are trying their best to lock him up long-term.
Meanwhile, MLB.com polled a variety of league executives as to where Sabathia could land if he were traded, and the two teams that kept coming up were the Angels and Cubs.
Being a West Coast guy, Sabathia would probably prefer the Angels. The Indians, though, would prefer to ship him to the Cubs, where they wouldn't have to face him every year. But the Angels' farm system is deeper and more talented, giving the Indians more options to put a package together.
One interesting team to watch in all of this - believe it or not - could be the Rays. They may not have the room to sign Sabathia long-term, but they certainly have the pieces to bring him in for an interesting pennant run. The Rays have the No. 1 farm system in Baseball America's rankings, and they may see the Indians' problems this year and realize how much things can change from one year to the next.
They probably need one more arm to seriously threaten the Red Sox all year in the East. Then again, they could watch the tape of last year's playoffs, when Sabathia bombed against both Boston and New York, and decide on passing.
Mayo in Minny
As expected, the stink on USC's basketball program in the wake of O.J. Mayo's two semesters on campus had little impact on his draft status.
Mayo has been accused of accepting $30,000 in cash and benefits, beginning while a high school student and continuing during his one season at USC. He was selected third Thursday night by the Timberwolves, where he'll sign a deal for about $6.7 million in guaranteed money - about 223 times the amount he allegedly took while a Trojan.
"Tell you what," T-Wolves VP Kevin McHale said, "if you said that every person who ever took any money in college would not be drafted, it'd be slim pickings."
Mayo, incidentally, signed a four-year deal with Nike this week. Not coincidentally, Mayo is represented by Akron's Maverick Carter and LRMR Marketing, which also represents LeBron James.
New Post
6/27/2008 10:01 AM
Re: John Groce  (United States)

Sports Briefs

Friday, June 27, 2008


Assistant leaves OSU:

John Groce will leave his post as an Ohio State assistant men's basketball coach to become head coach at Ohio University, which will be announced today. Groce, Thad Matta's right-hand man as the associate head coach of the Buckeyes, will leave a sizeable hole on the Buckeye staff. Matta has never been a head coach without Groce, 36, by his side, first at Butler, then at Xavier and the past four years at Ohio State.


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