John Groce - From Christian University Grad to Ohio State University Coach
John Groce is the Associate Head Basketball Coach at Ohio State University. His past season at OSU was one that most coaches only dream about. The Buckeye's season included a Big 10 Championship, as well as advancing all the way to the 2007 NCAA National Championship game. What many may not know about Coach Groce's background is that he is a Christian university graduate, and that he began his college coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater. Coach Groce attributes the success of the Ohio State University basketball team this past season to many people, especially Head Coach Thad Matta.
John's decision to attend the Christian university was greatly influenced by the personal contact he had with the basketball coach during summer basketball camps at the university he would eventually attend. He also liked the idea of earning a degree from a Christian college. While Coach Groce also considered such schools as West Point and the Air Force Academy, his final decision was based on people rather than other factors.
Coach Groce believes that his experience at a Christian university helped prepare him to be a better person, to be a good father and husband, to keep perspective, and to help him make an impact on "kid's" lives. John's positive feelings about his Christian university background are clear when he says, "I wouldn't trade that experience...at a Christian university for anything in the world. If I had to do it over again I'd go right back."
While John majored in Mathematics and received teaching certification in Secondary Education, he believes the athletic component at the Christian university he attended impacted him as much or more than any of the courses. The liberal arts dynamic at the university was also helpful in making him a well rounded individual. One of the experiences that especially helped him as a basketball coach was the two years he spent teaching. Coach Groce believes the teaching experience he gained helps him to better relate to student-athletes with a variety of learning styles.
Groce's concern for and interest in his players clearly extends beyond the basketball arena. In his current position at Ohio State, Coach Groce enjoys watching the student-athletes improve athletically, seeing them become better students, and observing them as they mature as people. He also really enjoys the competition aspect of his job. Perhaps the most challenging part of his career is the media attention and the high expectations of coaching at a large university, which can be stressful at times. However, he believes that his experience at a Christian university has helped him maintain balance under the spotlight of a major NCAA university.
Coach Groce's humility comes through as he acknowledges how blessed he is to have been around "great people" - coaches, mentors and individuals who have given him wonderful opportunities.
Special thanks to Coach John Groce of Ohio State University.
Interviewed by Thom Seagren
The Christian Connector, Inc.
"Christian College Grad 1987"