SIOUX CITY – The challenge, to be sure, will be difficult but Alex Groth is the latest to be entrusted to turn the North High girls basketball fortunes around as head coach.
The 27-year-old South Sioux City native takes over a program that has combined for six wins in the last two seasons and 26 since the last winning campaign in 2010-11.
“It’s going to be a challenge, I understand that, but I’m up for a challenge,” Groth said. “The biggest thing going in is just a culture change and establishing a new culture, a new mindset. I’m a younger guy but I come with a lot of background experience with basketball and understand what it takes to be successful on and off the court and bringing that state championship mindset every day.”
Groth is a 2010 South Sioux City High School graduate and played on the school’s first of three Nebraska Class B boys state basketball championship teams. He later served as an assistant coach for three seasons at South Sioux and spent last season as a boys assistant at North.
Taking over for Brent Douma, who coached the North girls the past two seasons, Groth has his own blueprint for success.
“The biggest thing is just getting the right girls to play, establishing those youth programs again and getting girls back wanting to play basketball for North High,” Groth said. “We do open gym twice a week and work out and have been having good numbers showing up for those.”
North finished with a 1-21 record last season but returns 5-5 senior Hailee Enoch, who led the Missouri River Conference with a 16.4 scoring average. The Stars had just one senior on their roster last season.
“We will be young again but I feel coming in as a new coach starting with a new group of girls you can work with for four years is a positive,” Groth said. “They only won one game last year but had a lot of close ones. My biggest thing is establishing that culture and getting relationships built. If we can win anywhere between five and eight games this year that would be a success and a big step forward.”
Groth, who teaches in the special education department at North, played baseball at Morningside College. He was an assistant to first-year Stars’ baseball coach Alex Tillo this summer.
While in college, Tillo coached Legion baseball in South Sioux City, five as head coach and two as an assistant, guiding a pair of teams to state tournaments.
Playing for and coaching with Terry Comstock at South Sioux City will give Groth a strong source of knowledge. He can also lean on Kelly Flynn, who coached the South Sioux City girls to 11 state championships, for coaching advice. Flynn has jumped back into the coaching ranks after several years away, taking over at Fremont High School.
“Just watching film from last year and being around these girls it’s a mindset thing that has to be instilled in these girls,” Groth said. “They’re responding well for the most part right now.”