IKE R. GROCE

CLASS OF 2008
 

     

Ike Groce was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on February 18, 1941.  Of the many young men that Paul Duffield taught the game of tennis, Ike was among the best.  He had talent, but it was his work ethic and competitive attitude that enabled him to succeed.  In his senior year at Shawnee High School, the team won the State Championship, but Ike lost the singles final to Billy Buckley.

Following graduation from Shawnee High School and a year at Oklahoma Baptist University, Groce entered Southeastern State University and launched a collegiate tennis career that resulted in a 61-8 singles record and 57-8 record in doubles play.  He captured three Oklahoma Collegiate Conference singles championships and two doubles titles.

Hall of Fame Coach Clarence Dyerís Savages won conference championships in the three years Ike was with the team.  The team finished third in the NAIA national tournament in 1965 when Ike advanced to the national semi-finals in singles play.

Southeasternís tennis tradition is rich. Ike Groce took his place at the head of the class on January 30, 1982, when he became the Universityís first tennis player to be inducted into the Southeastern Athletic Hall of Fame.

Following graduation from Southeastern, he won over 100 menís singles and doubles titles in Texas.  He was a semifinalist in the Texas Open Menís Singles and a finalist in Menís Doubles in the Texas Open.

Groce built tennis programs in the public schools of Lubbock, Abilene, and Brownwood, Texas.  He coached 125 players to Texas state rankings.  He produced 11 individual state champions, 13 nationally ranked prep players, and coached 77 players who won college tennis scholarships.  He was also a featured speaker at the National Tennis Coaches Clinic.

Ike was inducted into the Texas Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December, 1986.  The TTCA established The Ike Groce Coaches Vision Award in 2009 and it is a Special Recognition Award given to a deserving coach each year at the TTCA Convention.   

Groce became head womenís tennis coach at Oklahoma State University in 1979 where he immediately established the Cowgirls as a national power.  In his six years at OSU, he won more than 90 percent of his matches and won Big Eight conference championships in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985.  Individually, he produced 45 conference singles and doubles champions.  His squads also did not lose a single match in Big Eight tournament competition for five consecutive years and he led the Cowgirls to a top-10 finish in the NCAA Tournament in 1985. Groce finished with an overall record of 131-27 at OSU, including a 44-2 record in Big Eight play.

Ike and his wife, Carolyn McVay Groce, have 4 children:  Cari Groce, Christi Groce Barr, Cami Groce Patzkowski, and Michael Groce, and 5 grandchildren.  Ike passed away December 27, 1985.