Leading his teams to 19 postseason appearances, including two Mid-American Conference championships and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, Groce becomes the 22nd head coach of Akron men's basketball. He takes over a Zips' team that posted a school record 27 wins in 2016-17 and made its 13th postseason appearance in Akron's Division I era.
Groce will be introduced to the campus and community during a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Student Union (Starbucks stage). Parking will be available in the Lot 36 Deck off of Exchange Street. The event will be streamed live on GoZips.com and Facebook Live.
All fans are invited to a meet-and-gGreet at 6 p.m. on the E.J. Thomas Hall Stage. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. (please enter through the blue door). Light refreshments and a cash bar will be provided.
"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." Williams said. "We're extraordinarily pleased that he will be bringing his impressive experience and background to our Zips basketball program."
"Coach Groce has the commitment to excellence that has been instilled in our program, and I am confident that he will continue to build on that core and achieve even greater successes in the years ahead," President Wilson stated. "He is passionate about winning the right way, and I know our student-athletes and UA fans and supporters will be excited to see his energy, enthusiasm, and coaching skill on our side of the court."
For the last five years, Groce was head men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois, compiling a 95-75 overall record, earning three postseason appearances, including an NCAA berth his first season. He is coming off a season in which Illinois went 18-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten, good for ninth place.
From 2008 to 2012, he led the Ohio Bobcats to the NCAA tournament twice, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2012, and two Mid-American Conference championships. His overall record at OU was 85-56.
Groce's Ohio connections are strong, as he was assistant coach at Xavier (2001-04) and then assistant head coach at Ohio State (2004-06), becoming associate head coach (2006-08). He previously was an assistant coach at Butler (2000-01), assistant coach at North Carolina State (1996-00), and assistant coach at his alma mater Taylor University (1993-96).
Groce, 45, earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Taylor in 1994. He and his wife, Allison, have two sons, Conner and Camden, and a daughter, Cate.
The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field is accepting non-refundable deposits for 2017-18 basketball season tickets at $50 per seat. Limited lower level chair back seats are available, starting at $410 per seat. Renewal invoices for existing season ticket holders will be sent out in mid-summer. To place a deposit, or for further information, call 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or visit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays. Ticket office is located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets.
Here is John Groce year-by-year coaching results:
2008-09 Ohio - 15-17 7-9 6th East
2009-10 Ohio - 22-15 7-9 5th East NCAA Second Round
2010-11 Ohio - 19-16 9-7 3rd East CIT Quarterfinals
2011-12 Ohio - 29-8 11-5 3rd East NCAA Sweet 16
4 seasons 85-56 (.603) 34-30 (.531)
2012-13 Illinois - 23-13 8-10 T7th NCAA Third Round
2013-14 Illinois - 20-15 7-11 T8th NIT Second Round
2014-15 Illinois - 19-14 9-9 T7th NIT First Round
2015-16 Illinois - 15-19 5-13 12th
2016-17 Illinois - 18-14 8-10 9th
5 seasons 95-75 (.559) 37-53 (.411)
CAREER TOTAL: 9 yrs. - 180-131 (.579)