Akron’s Groce receives contract extension

Akron and head men’s basketball coach John Groce have agreed to a contract extension through the 2029-30 season, Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie announced on Wednesday.

“We are very pleased to extend John Groce’s contract through the 2029-30 season,” said Guthrie. “John is unquestionably an exceptional basketball coach. He embodies Akron’s ongoing commitment to the total development of our student-athletes. We are thankful to John and his family for all they’ve done over the past five seasons and we look forward to our program’s bright future under his leadership.”

Groce became the Akron Zips 22nd head coach on April 6, 2017. He completed his fifth season at Akron with a 94-59 overall record, including a 63-25 mark over the last three seasons. In Mid-American Conference play, the Zips are 54-38 under Groce and 40-16 over the last three years, owning the best winning percentage (.714) in the league. Groce has led Akron to five consecutive MAC Tournaments compiling a 6-3 record at Akron. His overall head coaching record in MAC Tournament games is 15-5. Groce has led all three schools, where he has been the head coach, to NCAA Tournament appearances.   

“I would like to thank the Board of Trustees, President Gary Miller and Director of Athletics Charles Guthrie for the commitment they have made to our basketball program,” Groce said. “This extension is truly a reflection of the efforts of so many outstanding people. First, our players deserve a lot of credit for the consistent success our program has experienced. It truly has been a privilege to be their coach. Secondly, our coaching staff, support staff and athletic department have all played a major role in our success. Lastly, we are so grateful for the support we receive from our fans, alumni, donors, the great city of Akron and our entire university community. The high care factor of the people and groups mentioned above combined with this commitment help make Akron one of the top programs in college basketball. We all look forward to continuing our pursuit of excellence together.” 

In 2022, the University of Akron men’s basketball program claimed the MAC Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. It was Akron’s fifth appearance in program history. Akron entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 13 seed and played against the No. 4 seed UCLA Bruins in the First Round of the East Region at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon on March 17, 2022. The Zips fell 57-53. 

Akron won eight consecutive games entering the NCAA Tournament, including the last five regular season games and the three MAC Tournament games. The Zips earned the No. 4 seed in the MAC Tournament and defeated fifth-seeded Buffalo (70-68) in the quarterfinal round, top-seeded Toledo (70-62) in the semifinal round and second-seeded Kent State (75-55) in the finals. Akron finished the season with a 24-10 overall record and a 14-6 record in league play.  

In 2020, the Zips matched the best regular season record in program history at 24-7. Akron’s 14-4 conference record earned the Zips the outright MAC Championship. Akron earned the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament – the 2020 MAC Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his 26-year coaching career, he has helped coach teams to 19 postseason appearances in 24 opportunities, including six regular season conference championships, eight conference tournament championships, a National Runner-up, an Elite 8, an NCAA Sweet 16 and seven Round of 32 appearances. Over 26 years his teams have not only shown consistent success on the court but have demonstrated sustained excellence in the classroom as well.

Prior to joining the Zips, Groce was head men’s basketball coach at the University of Illinois for five seasons. During his tenure at Illinois, he led the Illini to an average of 19 wins per season along with postseason appearances in four of his five years in Champaign, including the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Groce finished with a 95-75 record.

He arrived at Illinois after four seasons as head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to an 85-56 overall record that included postseason appearances in three of his four years in Athens. Under Groce the Bobcats earned Mid-American Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012. 


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