Sunday, October 5, 2003

Trusted UC trainer packs his bags for Marquette


College basketball insider

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

University of Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins will be without one of his most trusted staff members when practice begins Oct. 18.

Jayd Grossman, who served as the Bearcats' trainer for the past 10 years, has left UC to become the head athletic trainer at Conference USA rival Marquette.

If it seems strange that the UC trainer would leave to work at Marquette, here's something that seems even stranger:

His replacement at UC is David Fluker, who has been the trainer at crosstown rival Xavier for the past seven years.

Grossman, 34, said the decision to accept the Marquette job was one of the most difficult he has made. He and Huggins are very close. So are their wives. But the chance to become a head trainer and move to Milwaukee, which is 70 miles northwest of Evansville, Wis., his hometown, was too good to pass up. He and his wife, Juli, have a 2-month-old daughter, Mardi.

Grossman said he likes to think he played a small part in helping develop UC program's into one of the nation's most successful.

"Day in, day out, to watch that program, I look back and see that we got a lot of stuff done," Grossman said.

Huggins said Grossman played more than a small part in the program's success.

The basketball trainer at UC, in addition to treating players' injuries, also handles travel arrangements and conditioning. In Grossman's case, he was Huggins' right-hand man on the road.

Leaving as this season approached was especially difficult, Grossman said. "The talent there now is really, really good," Grossman said, "much better than what's been there the last couple of years."

Asked what it will be like to look across at the Marquette bench and see Grossman there, Huggins said, "I won't look."

MORE SATO HONORS: Xavier senior guard Romain Sato has been named to Basketball News' preseason All-America team. Sato, a second-team selection, averaged 18.1 points and 7.1 rebounds last season. He's also one of 50 players named to the John R. Wooden preseason All-America team, a first-team preseason All-America selection by Athlon Sports College Basketball Magazine and a second-team selection by both Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and Dick Vitale's All-Rolls Royce Team.

MIDNIGHT MADNESS: Doors at Shoemaker Center will open at 10 p.m. Oct. 17 for Midnight Madness for both the UC men's and women's teams. Admission is free. There will be an autograph session at 10:30 p.m. The men's team will take the floor seconds after midnight Oct. 18, the first day teams are allowed to practice. The men's team will conduct a 20-minute scrimmage, but the highlight could be the dunk contest, when fans will get their first opportunity to see Florida transfer James White display his leaping ability in a UC uniform.

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E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com




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