ed note: LLhoops.com re-introduces Geoff Groff. Coach Groff. Coach Groff is currently in his second stint with LMHS. The Blazers have been a force in the LL, District 3 and the PIAA. Enjoy.
1) Can you do a quick re-cap of the 2016-17 season at LMHS? Some of your thoughts during the season?
Came into the season with high expectations and they did not disappoint! We worked hard, and competed in practice and improved throughout the season. We won our section, came within a possession of winning districts, and gave Nuemann-Goretti their most challenging game on their way to winning the State Championship. The Blazers covered for each other when they were injured, stayed academically eligible, and shared the basketball. They were chosen by the Lanc. Leb. League officials as the team with the best sportsmanship! This team had a high energy level that also helped to energise the coaches and the season never got long. It is rewarding as a coach when your team exceeds expectations, and even moreso, when those expectations are already high.
2) It seem that the Blazers improve as the season progresses and makes a run at the LLsection tilte(and wins it a LOT), districts, and more recently state runs. How do you approach the season? Do you do anything differently as the season progresses?
One of my favorite quotes: Success is a journey, not a destination! We strive to have practices that are organized, fast paced, and competitive. We use a variety of activities to keep the points of emphasis fresh and we shorten practices as we head into January. We don’t practice on Saturday, unless there is a Monday game. We have been fortunate to have solid senior leadership who help keep their teammates focused and motivated. To follow up the quote, we try to keep our goals process oriented and measurable.
3) This is your second stint as head coach at LMHS. Do you see any changes in the game from your first run to the second?
The game is more physical as the players are stronger. The officials are more accessible with the 3-man crew and coaches being allowed to get off the bench. Harder to find players who want to play with their backs to the basket and easier to find payers who will shoot the 3!
4) Has your coaching approach changed over the years?
I would like to think I have improved as a coach, but I also recognize I still have room to grow. I see my role as a coach in a bigger way than just coaching basketball. I am a better communicator, especially on the listening end. More time and energy is invested in leadership development. And although we continue to strive to be the team with the most points on the scoreboard, we are recognizing that winning is much more than the most points! This gets back to the process I mentioned earlier.
5.What are your thoughts on the PIAA’s 6 classes?
More teams get a chance to win a title and experience District and State play.
Bonus: if there was anything you could change- league, districts, states, rules…what would it be?
Would like to see some more variety in how teams are paired in the State tournament. Teams who finish lower in Districts should not get easier games in the first round of the Sate Tournament. I would like to see the shot clock come to the High School game.
~ Dell Jackson