Former head coach at four Division I schools
Cari Groce, who has experience leading four NCAA Division I programs, is in her first season as the assistant women's tennis coach at the Air Force Academy. Groce was the head coach at Washington State for 12 years, Texas Tech for five years and most recently at Cal State-Los Angeles for the 2009-10 season. She comes to the Academy after spending the last two years as the Women's Tennis Coordinator at the Lakewood Country Club in Dallas, Texas.
We are really excited to have someone like Cari join our program with her wealth of success and experience," said Air Force head coach Kim Gidley. "She will be a huge asset for our program as we continue to strive to achieve new levels."
Groce, who began her college coaching career at Tulsa and has a career record of 216-195 over 19 seasons, led her squads at Washington State and Texas Tech to impressive turnarounds. At WSU, she helped the Cougars improve from 6-12 the year before she arrived to 14-9 in her first season. At Texas Tech, the Red Raiders were 3-17 before she arrived and 11-10 in her first season.
Groce compiled a 140-125 record in 12 seasons at Washington State and was named Pacific-10 Coach of the Year and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northwest Region Coach of the Year in 2002. She was also named the Pac-10 North Division Coach of the Year three other times in 1994, 1995 and 1996. She kept the Cougars nationally-ranked from 1994 until she left following the 2003 season. Her teams were also outstanding academically and were awarded the Washington State Athletic Award for highest grade point average seven times with eight individual Academic All-Americans and three team Academic All-America awards.
She led Texas Tech to a 58-54 overall record in five seasons. Her best season at Texas Tech came in 2006 when she led her squad to a 14-8 overall record and a 7-4 mark in the Big 12 Conference. She was named the 2006 Professional Tennis Registry Coach of the Year. In 2005, she led Texas Tech to its first national ranking (No. 61) since 1995 and her teams were ranked as high as 38th in the nation in 2006 and 56th in the country in 2008. In her final year at Texas Tech, she led the Red Raiders to a 12-12 overall record. Four of her five teams at Texas Tech finished the season with .500 records or better.
In 2007, she was honored by the USTA/ITA with the Community Service Award-Texas Section and she received the 2006 Campus Recreation Award for her outstanding dedication of promoting tennis within the Lubbock community. In 2005, she was named to the ITA Board of Directors.
As a player, Groce was the captain at Nebraska and was the school's first women's tennis All-American in 1986. She was a four-year letterwinner for the Huskers and led them as a team captain. She played professionally briefly in Europe and then got her coaching career started at Oklahoma State, where she was an assistant coach while she completed her bachelor's degree.