Brothers on two benches at Minnesota-Morris

  • Updated: February 11, 2011 - 8:21 AM

There's sibling support at Minn.-Morris between Tim and Paul Grove.

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Minnesota-Morris women's basketball coach Tim Grove

At the University of Minnesota-Morris, the women's and men's basketball teams almost always play doubleheaders, one after the other. They see plenty of each other, sharing gyms and travel plans, so it's a good thing the head coaches get along so well.

Of course, if brothers Tim Grove (women's coach) and Paul Grove (men's coach) weren't so close, there would be problems extending beyond basketball.

"If we didn't, it would be miserable," Tim joked.

The Groves -- who each have three children -- live across the street from each other in Morris, a town of about 5,000 located about 150 miles mostly west and a little north of the Twin Cities. They share a similar coaching philosophy, one that was forged when Paul was the head men's coach at Mayville (N.D.) State and Tim was an assistant there.

Perhaps most important to the bottom line, they are also sharing in success this season. The women's squad is 10-0 in Division III's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and can clinch its second consecutive conference title with two victories this weekend. The men's squad is 8-2 in the UMAC. A victory vs. Crown College on Friday would set up a Saturday showdown at Northwestern in Roseville with first place on the line.

"The only rough part is that I have a much more vested interest in their team now," Paul said. "I can't relax watching their game before our game."

Paul was the first to arrive at Morris, taking over as head coach during the 2002-03 season -- the squad's last season in Division II, during which UMM won only two games. Rough transition, huh?

"That's a gentle way to put it," Paul said. "We belong in Division III. We fit in great, and this area is loaded with great Division III talent. That was a huge advantage for us. Division II talent is a little harder to find in our area."

Tim, who took over the women's program five years later, agreed. Both squads are composed entirely of Minnesotans -- many from small towns near Morris. Steph Roggenbuck, a senior from Osakis (about an hour away), averages 17.5 points per game to lead the women's team. Dan Fragodt, a senior from nearby Benson, is among the key players on the men's team.

The brothers' coaching styles speak for themselves -- allowing them to keep actual basketball talk to a minimum off the court.

"I think the assumption is that we talk about basketball a lot," Tim said. "But we really don't. Our conversations are more focused on family. ... But if questions come up, I have a good resource I can use."

MICHAEL RAND

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