John Groce named new Akron basketball coach

Henry Palattella

John Groce is no stranger to the Mid-American Conference. Groce spent four seasons serving as the coach at Ohio University where he compiled a record of 85-56 in four seasons with the Bobcats. His last season in Athens was in 2011-2012, where he led them to a berth in the Sweet 16, before leaving to head to the University of Illinois.

Groce will be making his herald return to the MAC this coming season, however, as the University of Akron named Groce as their new basketball coach Wednesday. 

“From the enviable position of much sustained success in our men’s basketball program, we concentrated our search on finding a Division I coach with a proven track record of excellence, winning and post-season appearances, combined with a focus on academics and discipline. Coach Groce has that combination,” said Larry Williams, Akron’s director of athletics, in a press release Wednesday. “We’re extraordinarily pleased that he will be bringing his impressive experience and background to our Zips basketball program.”

Groce left Ohio to become the coach at the University of Illinois, where he went 95-75 in five seasons as coach. Groce only managed to go 37-53 in conference play at the helm of the Fighting Illini, however, which led to the two parting ways this past offseason.

Groce will be replacing former Akron coach Keith Dambrot, who left this offseason to become coach at Duquesne University. Dambrot won MAC Coach of the Year this past season after guiding the Zips to first place in the MAC to go along with a record of 27-9.  

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]