AKRON, Ohio – The rivalry between the AKron Zips and the Ohio University Bobcats is pretty intense. This season the rivalry is expected to be even better.
Akron is expected to fill their vacant men’s basketball head coaching position with John Groce, the former head coach of the Bobcats. Jeff Goodman of ESPN is the first to report the news. Akron is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday to officially announce the hire.
Former Illinois coach John Groce is close to agreeing to deal to replace Keith Dambrot at Akron, source told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 4, 2017
Groce spent the last five years as the head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Groce was hired in Champaign following terrific success with the Bobcats in the NCAA Tournament.
Groce led Ohio to three victories in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2012. The Bobcats advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The success in Athens, didn’t translate to the Big Ten. Illinois’ best finish under Groce was seventh in his first season of 2012-2013. Groce only made one appearance in the NCAA Tournament as the head coach of Illinois.
Groce compiled a 95-75 record in five seasons at Illinois. He finished 16 games below .500 in the Big Ten conference. AT Ohio, Groce compiled an 85-56 record and a 34-30 record in the Mid-American Conference.
Groce will replace Keith Dambrot who took the head coaching job at Duquense University in Pittsburgh last month.
Groce will inherit an Akron program that has won the Mid-American Conference regular season title each of the last two season.
— Keith Dambrot (@CoachDambrot) April 1, 2017
The Zips lost in the Mid-American Conference tournament championship game each of the last two seasons. The Zips would miss out on playing in the NCAA Tournament.
The 45-year old Groce was an assistant coach under Thad Matta at Ohio State before taking the head coaching job at Ohio University.