MIAMI — When the 2018-19 basketball season rolls around, that will be the first time in 23 years that someone by the name of Grover won’t be on the bench guiding a Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College basketball team.
Dustin Grover, who spent 13 seasons as the Golden Norse coach, stepped down so he could accept the position of assistant vice president of academic affairs at NEO.
A press conference was held Friday, April 20, in the NEO Field House to announce Grover’s move and to introduce longtime assistant Jeremy Jackson as his successor.
“Next season will be the first season in 23 years that someone with the name of Grover on the sidelines,” said Grover, a 1990 graduate of Miami High School.
Grover, 249-176 in 13 seasons, was the second-longest tenured coach in Region II behind Bill Muse of Connors State College.
It had been Muse, Greg Shamburg of Northern Oklahoma-Enid and Grover prior to the 2017-18 season, but Shamburg resigned to become president and CEO of the Denny Price Family YMCA in Enid.
Grover and his twin brother, Darin, came to NEO as coaching assistants in 1995.
“We won’t have had a break until this coming year,” Dustin Grover said.
Darin Grover spent three seasons as women’s head coach at NEO then moved south to Durant in 2005 to head up the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Savage Storm women’s program.
Also in 2005, Dustin Grover returned home after a stint at Arizona Western (where he was an assistant to former Miamian Kelly Green) to succeed Jason Turk as coach of the Norsemen.
“This job is going to be a challenge that I am excited about,” said Grover.
“There were opportunities but family and NEO kept us here,” he said. “NEO is a great place. That’s a huge reason why even though I am getting out of coaching, I am staying here. It’s something that is very special.”
Grover mentioned some of his mentors at NEO: Larry and Randy Gipson and Lonnie Spencer, as well as Green.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have great people to work under,” he said, also mentioning Green’s father, former Norse coach, Cletus.
“He is the reason NEO is what it is,” Grover said.
Grover’s teams won Region II titles in 2014 and ’16, advancing to the NJCAA national tournament both times.
Two of this former players received NJCAA All-American honors and he has had numerous All-Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference and All-Region II players.
“This opportunity came along and presented itself. I think I needed to make a decision in which direction I wanted to go. You may not get an opportunity like this again.”
“I am pleased that Dustin is joining our academic affairs team,” said NEO vice president of academic affairs Dr. Bethene Fahnestock. “His teaching and coaching experience have prepared him to be a leader and mentor as we continue to promote student success through academic programming.”
“Dr. Hale (NEO president Dr. Jeff Hale) came to me and said ‘would you be interested in a position like this?” Grover said. “He and Dr. Fahnestock had the faith in me to put me in this position. Getting into administration is exciting.
“I am hopeful that I can make a difference at NEO.”