Longtime assistant men's basketball coach Earl Grant is getting his shot to helm his own team, taking over as head coach for the College of Charleston.
CofC.edu's Mike Robertson reported the news of Grant's hiring on Tuesday, relaying a message from the school's president, Glenn McConnell. The following is an excerpt from McConnell's official statement:
First and foremost Earl is a very impressive leader and a teacher. His positive attitude, strong work ethic and vivacious personality will have a lasting impact on our players, students, alumni and the entire college community. I am positive that his vast energy and desire for excellence will propel the College of Charleston basketball program to new heights.
He is well known for his many years as an exceptional recruiter, both in evaluating talent and developing relationships. His integrity will help us recruit elite student-athletes who will win championships and make us proud both on and off of the court. He can bring us instant success in the upcoming recruiting season and have an immediate positive impact that will pay dividends for years.
ESPN's Andy Katz observed Sunday how Grant would go on to become the latest in Clemson's coaching tree to take over another program:
If Earl Grant is choice for Charleston then Clemson's Brad Brownell will have placed 3 assistants as HC: Johnson (VT), Ray (MissSt) other 2.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) August 31, 2014
Grant was an assistant for the Tigers for five previous seasons primarily under Brad Brownell. Before then, he was an assistant at Wichita State and worked with Gregg Marshall, who just guided the Shockers to an undefeated regular season in 2013-14.
The Cougars are indeed getting a coach in Grant with an excellent pedigree, if not any head coaching experience.
Grant's predecessor, Doug Wojcik, was fired amid allegations of verbally abusing players, and that may have contributed to the squad's poor performance in 2013-14, when they posted a meager 14-18 record.
What should make Charleston fans excited about Grant is that has a reputation for luring talent on the recruiting trail and developing it in college. At the beginning of July, Wojcik wasn't recruiting. That is a needed change.
According to ClemsonTigers.com, Grant worked mostly with point guards during his most recent assistant stint. Guard play tends to be crucial in the NCAA tournament, and the reigning national champion Connecticut Huskies can attest to that. UConn coach Kevin Ollie, a former NBA point guard, helped mold Shabazz Napier into a stupendous championship leader who became a first-round draft pick.
That's not to say Grant will replicate such a massive feat at Charleston, but the general principle is similar. It will likely take time for Grant to establish himself, though, given that the Cougars have had little success in recent years.
At least the future looks far brighter for Charleston, as Grant has a great opportunity to establish himself in the mid-major Colonial Athletic Association and bring plenty of positivity to a program that needs it at the moment. Look for the Cougars to upgrade their talent and contend for the CAA title within the next few years.