‘Patrick Gruss’ say the name at any local girls’ basketball event and there’s a high likelihood that it will be recognized, if not by a half dozen or more people. He has been a staple in the Johnstown and Western Pennsylvania basketball community for the last 18+ years. He began his 18 year, and counting, coaching career at Conemaugh Valley’s elementary school program coaching his two daughters. Pat could have quit coaching after his daughters aged out over 6 years ago, but he didn’t because of his love of the game and sheer joy in witnessing the successes of the athletes, on and off the court.
It is his devotion and determination in providing opportunities for young local athletes to learn and play the game of basketball that provided him the opportunity to take on a variety of different coaching positions. Shortly after he began coaching at the elementary level he stepped in as the head coach for the Conemaugh Valley Elementary Girls’ All-Star team for 5 years and was asked to be the head coach of the Conemaugh Valley Junior High Girls’ Basketball team, a position he would hold for over 12 years. A few years later, Pat was also asked to fill the Assistant Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach position, a post he would hold on two different occasions for a total of 7 years.
This will be Pat’s 17th year coaching girls’ AAU basketball and his 1st season coaching under the travel basketball club he founded, the Flood City Lightning. He got his start coaching AAU 16 years ago when he was asked to step in as the head coach for his daughter’s team.
Throughout his career, Pat has coached over 18 high school 1,000-point scorers. He was the Assistant Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach for the PIAA Class A State Runner-up team, Conemaugh Valley, in 2006. Pat was also the head coach for 4 Keystone State Games Gold medal teams. Pat’s past and present AAU teams have won countless tournaments during his illustrious career.
Pat graduated from Forest Hills High School where he played on the Varsity Boys’ Basketball team for 2 years. As a senior he was selected to the March of Dimes All Star Team and participated in the senior showcase All-Star game for his final outing as a Forest Hills Ranger. If you have time, make sure you ask to hear the 'Pat Gruss Story'.
Taylor graduated from Conemaugh Valley High School in 2010. During her time as a Lady Blue Jay, Taylor started on the Varsity Girls’ Basketball team as a freshman, was a 4x varsity letter winner, scored over 1000 points in her career, was named to the WestPAC All Conference Team during her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, was named to the AP 2nd All State Team during her junior season and the 3rd team during her senior season, was a member of the 2009 WestPAC Conference Championship team and game MVP, advanced to the elite eight in the state playoffs during her junior and senior seasons, and participated in the AmeriServ AllStar Game in her final season as a Lady Blue Jay. Taylor played AAU travel basketball for 7 years and played in dozens of tournaments across Pennsylvania and the East Coast. After high school, Taylor went on to play 2 years of Division III basketball at Washington & Jefferson College where she got her degree in Computing & Information Systems. Taylor is a co-founder of Flood City Lightning. This will be her 6th season coaching AAU basketball.