OSWEGO — A new face will be gracing the head coaching position for the Oswego varsity girls volleyball team this season.
Tom Grover, also the Oswego JV boys lacrosse head coach, is now at the helm of the varsity girls volleyball team. Grover replaces longtime coach Ron Ahart, who stepped down following the 2018 season.
“I had a good working relationship (with Athletic Director Rhonda Bullard), so this is what led to me coaching the varsity team,” Grover said.
A Jamesville-DeWitt High class of 2007 graduate, Grover played a couple of years on the varsity volleyball team at the school. Grover graduated from Oswego State in 2011, where he played club volleyball while attending college.
He currently works at the Oswego City Police Department and is the only D.A.R.E. officer in the area.
Grover’s new position with girls volleyball is his first coaching position at the varsity level. Aside from coaching the JV boys lacrosse team this past spring, he coached the JV boys volleyball program at J-D for six seasons.
“I love the opportunity,” he said. “I would love to continue to grow and be a good coach. I was a very successful athlete in high school, so I want to be the coach that gets the athlete to the next level (college).”
Along with becoming part of the Oswego girls volleyball coaching staff, Grover said he is looking forward to having Sara DelBrocco as the head coach for the JV team. DelBrocco was Ahart’s assistant coach last season.
“I’m really happy to have some of the old stuff worked in with the new stuff that I’ve brought to the program,” he said.
Grover understands he has big shoes to fill by replacing Ahart, who provided a winning culture in the varsity girls volleyball program for many years.
Ahart ran a 5-1 system, which is the opposite hitter simultaneously rotating to the back row that becomes a defender and a potential back-row attack option. The system means that there is one setter running the offense at all times.
For Grover, he plans to go with the 6-2 system. The system uses whichever player is in the back row as its setter so that it will have six offensive options — an outside hitter, a middle hitter, a right-side hitter, a hitter from the back row, the libero or defensive specialist in the back row, and the setter from the back row.
“I need to keep some of the style (Ahart) had, but also bring in the new style that I have. (The 6-2 system) is a much more offensive approach to volleyball,” he said. “(Ahart) created a successful program, and I want to build upon that. The goal is to continue the legacy with these girls.”
Grover mentioned how he is all about offensive explosiveness on the volleyball court, which comes off of his coaching style that includes energy, being loud and excited on the bench.
“I love winning,” he said. “I like the energy level to be through the roof.”
So far, Grover’s players are absorbing the energy he brings to the table.
“I haven’t heard anything bad yet,” Grover said with a laugh. “They love the energy I bring. They feed off of it and that’s the best part. If I can get them all in on the energy we can use that to our advantage.”
Grover has seen success with the lacrosse teams he’s been with. He won states his senior year with the J-D varsity boys lacrosse team, and compiled a 12-3 record with the Oswego JV boys lacrosse team after a few down years.
“Any program I’m a coach of, I strive to be the best,” he said. “I have a taste of what states is like and now I want to give it to the athletes I’m coaching.”