South Carolina Basketball: Hire Anthony Grant

Tim PollockSenior Writer IFebruary 8, 2008

It’s no secret that South Carolina sports are lacking in winning tradition.

With Dave Odom’s recent “retirement” announcement, the Gamecocks have a chance to make a major splash that could affect the SEC for years.   

My suggestion:  Hire Anthony Grant.  Offer a large contract competitive with the top coaches in the league.  Throw everything you can at the guy and outbid the competition.     

The Gamecocks stole a Florida coach (Spurrier) once and the improvements came immediately.  If Athletic Director Eric Hyman is smart, he should raid the Gator cupboard again and nab Grant, the former Gator assistant now running the show at Virginia Commonwealth.

When Billy Donovan arrived at UF from Marshall, he embraced the success of the football team—and used it as a recruiting tool, despite being told by everyone that he could not have success in Gainesville.  Looked at as only a football school, no one (even Gator fans) realized the sleeping giant the Gator basketball team was.  

There is no doubt Anthony Grant could duplicate this effort at South Carolina, especially since he was part of Donovan’s staff—the one that put Florida basketball squarely on the map—and in the living room of every American sports fan.  

Simply put, Anthony Grant has everything South Carolina is looking for.

For starters, he is young and African-American.  From there, his list of accomplishments is more than impressive:

- SEC coaching experience:  After serving as Billy D’s assistant for 10 years at Florida, Grant is more than familiar with the league he would be coming to.

- A winning tradition:  Grant has been present for three national championship games and won two national championship rings, several SEC championships, and countless tournament appearances.

- A tireless work ethic:  Grant has more than paid his dues—serving for 12 years as an assistant to Donovan (two at Marshall and 10 at Florida).

- Excellent recruiter:  Grant became Donovan’s go-to guy with recruiting.  Grant has a knack for developing not only the big-name kids, but also the “projects” and formerly unnoticed kids.

On top of that—and what many people do not know—is that Grant coached high school ball in Miami for six years, winning three state championship and rolling up a ridiculous overall record of 172-11.  

This is the chief reason Grant has such strong recruiting ties in the Miami area—and probably one of the biggest reasons Florida rarely allowed in-state high school talent to leave the state for collegiate play.  

- Continued success and proven track record as a head coach:  Grant led VCU to a 28-7 record in his first season, including a huge upset of Duke in the first round of the tournament—and a near upset of third seeded Pitt in the next round.

This year, Grant has VCU right back where they left off—tournament bound and some team’s first round nightmare match-up.  

Athletic Director Eric Hyman has only made three hires during his short tenure at South Carolina, and each has been less than spectacular so far.  The Gamecock fans are getting restless on this one—they pushed Odom out the door and are eager for a new and young coach to resurrect the program.  

With this season’s success at Ole Miss and Mississippi State, Gamecock fans are wondering why not us, and why not now?  

After LSU’s firing of John Brady yesterday, and Mike Gottfried struggling at Alabama, both schools might have openings next year.  And both schools have quality facilities and programs to offer.    

If Eric Hyman wants to stick around in Gamecock territory, he’ll need do everything he can to get Anthony Grant in Columbia.