The University of Minnesota Morris women's basketball team has been one of the most successful in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference in the past 10 years.
The team has been a consistent winner and has had a continuity with the same coach during that decade span.
The conference honored head coach Tim Grove for his success on the court by naming him the UMAC Coach of the Decade in women's basketball in a press release Jan. 9.
"Honors like this are simply a reflection of those people that have been part of our women's basketball program," Grove said in an email interview. "All of the players and assistant coaches in our program throughout this time share this honor with me. It says a lot more about the people around me that it does about me."
The Cougars have won at least a share of the UMAC regular season title six straight seasons from 2009 to 2015. In two of those seasons, the Cougars won the postseason tournament and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament.
"The 2010-2011 season was really special," Grove said of one season from the past 10 years. "We were 21-7, unbeaten in conference play with a 14-0 regular season record and then went on to win the conference tournament championship... But that is only one chapter to a span 10 years that we have played really good basketball."
The 2010-2011 may be really special, but Grove said all the teams shared in the dominance the program had in the past decade.
"Our teams were 124-22 in regular season conference games during that 10-year stretch," Grove said. "Each team is special and unique in it's own way and I could give thoughts on all of them. They accomplished all that while being excellent students and fantastic representatives of UMM and our women's basketball program, and I'm equally proud of who they are off the court."
Grove said while the women's basketball program has had its success in the past 10 years, there are rewards that aren't recorded as wins.
"The relationships that develop through competition, and to see those relationships carry on into their real adult lives is so special and the most rewarding part of coaching for me," he said.
The rewards from coaching at UMM have kept Grove at the helm for 13 years. In a world where coaches at all levels seem to come and go more often than not, Grove found a home at UMM and in Morris.
"There are a lot of things that go into turnover of coaches. The reason someone might take a job are not the same reasons someone may stay in that job," Grove said.
The job of coaching doesn't start and end at practice or during the games.
"Coaching at the college level even at Division III demands a ton of behind-the-scenes time that people just don't see... recruiting, scouting, practice preparation, administrative duties... and unless you absolutely love what you are doing there are plenty of reasons you can find to step away from it," he said.
UMM provides its own particular niche in the coaching world, Grove said.
One of the great things about coaching here is simply the quality of person we get in our athletic programs," Grove said. "These are people who are serious about getting a top-notch education, who want to thrive and contribute in a competitive academic environment, who keep their participation in athletics in its proper perspective - while at the same time wanting to compete at a high level."
Along with Grove, former UMM player Emily Mehr was one of five players named to the All-Decade team.
UMAC honors UMM grad Mehr