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Gromacki, Jeffs just keep winning

AMHERST — South Deerfield native G.P. Gromacki continues his success in Division III women’s college basketball at Amherst College this season.

Gromacki, now in his sixth season as head coach at the school, has led the Lord Jeffs to a 19-0 record this season as the team looks to make the NCAA Division III Tournament for the sixth straight season. The fourth-ranked Lord Jeffs host Wesleyan tonight at 7 p.m. and also have home games Friday night at 8 p.m. (against Bates) and Saturday at 4 p.m. against Tufts in a game that pits Amherst against a Jumbos team that’s also unbeaten (20-0), just behind Amherst in the national rankings, where they currently sit fifth. After the Tufts tilt, Amherst finishes up its regular-season schedule with a pair of road games on Feb. 8 (Williams) and Feb. 9 (Middlebury).

Gromacki’s coaching career has been astoundingly successful. It all began back in 1998 at Division III St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where he piled up 143 wins against only 30 losses in six seasons. From there, he went on to serve as an assistant coach at Division I Temple University but found he was better suited to be a head coach and took a job at Hamilton (N.Y.) College for the 2006-07 season. There, he guided the Continentals to a 20-8 record. Following that season, he was approached by Amherst College for what he had long considered his dream job, so he returned to his home Pioneer Valley.

His reign in Amherst has been nothing short of amazing. Gromacki took over a 12-win Amherst team from the season before he arrived and began his first season as coach on a 17-game winning streak. The season ended with Amherst making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, eventually losing in the third round. The next four seasons have been even better, with the Lord Jeffs making the Division III Final Four in each season and winning a national championship in 2010-11 season. The Lord Jeffs finished fourth in the tournament (which has a consolation game) last season, marking the second time it’s finished fourth in the country (the other coming in the 2008-09 season). Gromacki’s Jeffs also have a third-place finish in 2009-10 to their credit.

Gromacki’s 12-plus seasons as a head coach have seen him compile a 333-49 record (that’s an .872 winning percentage), and the coach has never had a team finish with less than 20 wins. He’ll hit that mark again this season and should again have strong Final Four possibilities.

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