Jeff Grove has been an assistant coach at K-State for 16 of the last 18 years, with the 2014 season being his 13th consecutive season with the Wildcats since rejoining the program under Suzie Fritz in 2002. From helping orchestrate the rise of the program in the late `90s to maintaining its success with Fritz for the last 12 years, Grove has played a big role in K-State being one of the nation's top programs.
In his 16 years as an assistant, a stretch that includes 11 winning seasons, Grove has helped lead K-State to 296 wins, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, and a Big 12 Conference title in 2003. As the defensive coordinator for the team, he has also coached a number of great defensive players, including two-time Big 12 Liberos of the Year Laura Downey-Wallace and Angie Lastra as well as First Team All-Big 12 and AVCA All-American, Lauren Goehring.
"It's very unusual to have the opportunity in the coaching business to work with someone as long as Jeff and I have. He is a man of strong character and commitment and is philosophically a great fit for K-State and the way we want to do things," Fritz said. "He has tremendous technical knowledge, understands training at a high level and is excellent with statistical measurement and analysis. I trust in and have the highest respect for him, both as a person and a volleyball coach."
In addition to the role as the defensive coach, the California native is the team's associate head coach, helping in the development of all phases of the program, coordinating and evaluating all statistical and video applications, creating opponent scouting reports and game plans, and organizing tape exchanges.
As the defensive coordinator for the team, Grove has coached a number of great defensive players in K-State history, including Lastra, the most prolific libero for the Wildcats. Lastra finished her career atop the career digs list with 2,032 - a record that still stands. She holds multiple school records, including digs by a freshman and senior and digs in a season. Lastra was also the first libero to be named Big 12 Player of the Week before the conference created an award for both offense and defense.
Grove also helped develop libero Lauren Mathewson, who recorded three of the top-six performances in terms of digs in a single season in program history. Matthewson, a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection, is second in school history in career digs.
Grove's impact on the Wildcats' defense extends beyond the backline. At the net, K-State has been one of the stronger teams in the Big 12 under Grove's direction. In 15 seasons while at K-State, Grove has helped the Wildcats hold opponents to a hitting percentage of .200 or below in a season 10 times. K-State has also finished among the Big 12's top three teams in blocks per set in seven of the last 12 seasons, including second in 2013 and third in 2012.
During Grove's first tour in Manhattan, he was one of the original members of Jim McLaughlin's staff at K-State and a significant component in building the successful Wildcat program of today. He helped guide the team to a 60-34 overall record from 1997-99 and three consecutive bids to the NCAA Tournament. He was responsible for coaching the outside hitters, including K-State's first All-American Dawn Cady and former Team USA alternate Kim Zschau. He also assisted with team travel and recruiting.
Before joining McLaughlin's staff, Grove spent four seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Wyoming from 1993-96. During his tenure on the Cowgirl staff, the program posted a 54-64 (.458) overall record and a 25-33 mark in conference (WAC) play. In 1994, the Cowgirls posted a 17-13 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. He began coaching at Wyoming in 1993 after a one-year stint as the lone assistant coach at Weber State in Ogden, Utah.
At Weber State, Grove helped the Wildcats to a 6-21 overall record and 5-9 mark in the Big Sky Conference in 1992. That season, the team placed fifth in the Big Sky and two members earned honorable mention all-conference honors. Following the season, he served several months as Weber State's interim head coach, managing the program in all facets until a new head coach was hired. While at Weber State, Grove also coached the Ogden (Utah) Junior Olympic volleyball program.
Grove began his coaching career at his alma mater Azusa Pacific while still an undergraduate. He served as the lone assistant coach for the women's team to help build the program into one of the top NAIA teams. He was also a player/coach for the men's club team. He also has experience at the Olympic level serving an internship with the U.S. National Volleyball Teams.
Grove has assisted with USA Volleyball over the years, including serving as an assistant coach for the Junior National A2 Team in July of 2008, working with some of the top young talent in the nation. In 2013, he was a floor coach at the U.S. Collegiate National Team tryouts in Colorado Springs.
A native of Goleta, California, Grove earned his bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in business administration from Azusa Pacific in 1991. He is married to the former Julie Abbott and the couple has two children, Kaitlyn and Jonathan.