Groves named new girls basketball coach at Boyd

Apr. 17—Kim Groves has an intriguing basketball story.

The 2004 East Carter graduate has played for one of the most successful 16th Region coaches of all time. She has coached alongside another, a four-time region winner, and will now follow the winningest coach in the region's storied history.

Groves was named the new Boyd County girls basketball coach on Tuesday night. She succeeds Pete Fraley after his 28-year stint as program leader.

"I'm just thankful for this opportunity," Groves said. "I have that desire to build my own program, to put my own spin on things and help the girls. When the position became available at Boyd County, I knew about the great community and the support that they have there. It's always been a great atmosphere, a great environment and a great school system. I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to take on a new role and start a new chapter of my life."

Groves was a key player for the Raiders. She was a member of the only girls team to win a region title at East Carter in 2004.

She joined Layne's staff in 2010 as an assistant coach. Groves stepped away to start a family in 2017. She rejoined the team to work in the youth and middle school programs. Groves took on a bigger role last year and became the Red Devils' junior varsity coach.

"I've been blessed to have some great basketball mentors," Groves said. "I played for Hager Easterling for my entire high school career. He taught me so much about the game and life. As I started my coaching career, I got to work under coach Layne. She's very knowledgeable about the game. She ran a successful program here at Russell for the last 14 years. She taught me so much about how to manage a program."

"One of the best influences I ever had was Garry Morris," she added. "He's just awesome at what he does with his defensive techniques. I hope to take something from all three and make it my own at Boyd County."

Groves was known as Kim Stapleton during her Raider playing days. She was named the 16th Region Tournament Most Valuable Player after East Carter's championship run.

Easterling remembers her savvy basketball I.Q. She was a coach on the floor, which will serve her well in her new role.

"She's one of the smartest players I ever coached, girls or boys," Easterling said. "She was very good at analyzing situations and coming up with solutions instead of folding up the tent! Every dad wants their kids to be successful. She has been a player, an assistant coach and I'm sure she'll do great as a head coach, I'm so happy for her and proud of her!"

Fraley said he stayed out of the process and let school officials conduct the coaching search for his replacement.

He said Groves came highly recommended. East Carter's region victory in 2004 came against Fraley and Boyd County.

"I remember coaching against her when she played at East Carter," Fraley said. "She was a fierce competitor and always handled herself with class. We look forward to her taking over the program and not only developing young ladies but instilling traits that go beyond the basketball court."

Layne said Groves became instrumental in building the girls program at Russell from the ground up and she will have the same impact in her new job on and off the court.

"She is a very knowledgeable and passionate coach that has worked tirelessly to continue to build our feeder program," Layne said. "She has continued to improve our players and has been an important part of our continued success.

"She will be able to continue the great tradition at Boyd County and they will continue to be a regional contender each year. She cares about kids and will help them in all phases of life. We thank her for all of her time and dedication. She will be missed."

Russell and Boyd County have had plenty of hardwood battles and both programs know each other well. The familiarity will aid in the transition.

Groves said she is a defensive-minded coach and likes a faster pace. She will determine her style of play once the preseason preparations start. The former Russell assistant will always do what's best for her players.

"Mandy always does a good job of keeping the focus on the kids," Groves said. "At the end of the day, it's a juggling act to balance everything involved. So, when you get in the gym, you have to focus on the kids. Keep working on your goals and tasks but put their best interest first and move forward. ... I like good, hard-nosed defense. You get stops and let that transition into our offense. I'd like to pick up the pace and play a little faster."

Groves will continue her classroom career at Boyd County. She is a math and science teacher.

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