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
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
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
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.