Tahlequah Athletic Director Matt Cloud found exactly what he was looking for when he brought aboard Stacie Grooms to lead the high school girls soccer program.
Stacie Grooms has vast experience and proven success. She also provides stability.
Grooms, officially hired on June 11 to replace Stephanie Doherty, has been an assistant coach and head coach for the past 12 years at Westville High School. She was the head coach for the last nine of those years.
“I’m pretty excited, excited about the move to Tahlequah,” Grooms said on Tuesday. “I’ve coached for 12 years at one school and I’m happy to bring that to Tahlequah. For me, it’s a move up because I’m coming from a 3A platform to a 5A platform, so I’m excited about that aspect.
“I’ve been committed to that program [Westville] for a long time and I’m committed to bring that same commitment level to Tahlequah.”
“She’s another high integrity person that had a really good program each year at Westville,” Cloud said. “She came highly recommended from several people that I talked to. We were looking for a soccer-first type head coach. Sometimes you don’t find those, and we found it.” She’s got tons of soccer experience all the way from the youth to the high school level. She fit what we were needing here.”
Grooms, who was also head volleyball coach at Westville, led the Yellowjackets to the playoffs in six of her nine years as a head coach. Her 2018 team went 12-5. She’s also a two-time Oklahoma Soccer Coaches Association All-State coach.
Another strong selling point for Grooms was the dedication to soccer on all levels in Tahlequah.
“I’m pretty excited about the fact that Tahlequah has a really solid club that is grooming soccer players, teaching kids at a young level to learn to love the game, and those kids feed into the high school program,” she said. “I’m getting kids that have already had a lot of touches on the ball, a lot of experience and have already developed a love for the game.”
The Lady Tigers went 3-1 in a shortened season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Doherty was head coach for two years after replacing current boys head coach Greg Hall.
Grooms wants her high school program to be involved with all age levels in Tahlequah.
“I think it’s critical,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for high school players to be involved with the little kid programs for many reasons, one, because they look up to those kids and when they’re little they want to be those kids. They look at those high school kids playing high school sports and when they’re in elementary that’s what they want to be, and two, so that they know they’re important to you.”