AKRON, Ohio (AP) — John Groce has been handed the keys to the gym at Akron.

After previous coaching stops at Illinois and Ohio, Groce was introduced Thursday at Akron, where he’ll inherit a program that flourished over the past decade under Keith Dambrot.

Following a recent loss in the NIT, Dambrot accepted an opening at Duquesne, where his father played.

Groce’s challenge with the Zips will be keeping them among the top squads in the MAC and getting Akron back into the NCAA Tournament. Akron made three NCAA trips under Dambrot, but the school went 0-3 and was overlooked other years for at-large bids despite strong resumes.

The 44-year-old Groce was fired last month at Illinois, where he went 95-75. He made the NCAA field in his first season but never had a winning conference record. Groce guided Ohio to two NCAA appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2012.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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