Restoring the Roar: 7 reasons why Earl Grant will re-energize CofC men’s hoops

College of Charleston’s new men’s basketball coach Earl Grant had a nice debut at Furman Nov. 14, where the Cougars beat the Paladins in a resounding 75-40 season opener.

Grant, the former Clemson assistant, is the 23rd head coach in CofC’s history.

After a tumultuous 2013-14 season for the Cougars which ended in the dramatic firing of Doug Wojcik in August.

Grant appears to be exactly what this talent-loaded team needed, and here are 7 reasons why this new coach is going to “restore the roar” for Cougars basketball.

1. Hometown Pride

courtesy of CofC Sports

courtesy of CofC Sports

Grant grew up in North Charleston and played basketball for Stall High School. He remembers watching College of Charleston games when he was young when legendary former coach John Kresse led the team to multiple conference titles.

After leading Georgia College to the NCAA Division II Tournament three consecutive times as a player, he quickly joined the Division I coaching ranks, serving as an assistant at The Citadel, Winthrop, Wichita State and Clemson, before arriving at Charleston.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to have this opportunity in a place where I grew up, it’s a special place,” Grant said.

2. Great mentors

courtesy of Clemson Athletics

 

Grant has been an assistant coach since 2002, spanning The Citadel, Winthrop, Wichita State and Clemson.

He has worked under Gregg Marshall, a former Charleston assistant, who led his Wichita State Shockers to an undefeated regular season in 2014.

Most recently, Grant served as Brad Brownell’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Clemson, where he signed current Philadelphia 76ers’ guard KJ McDaniels, a first team All-ACC player in 2014.

“The No. 1 thing they taught me: stay true to yourself and stick to your personality,” Grant said.

 3. Excitement to share

courtesy of CofC Sports

courtesy of CofC Sports

One of Grant’s mantras since being hired has been “restore the roar.” He is determined to fill up the 5,100-seat TD Arena every game and has been around campus and throughout Charleston sharing his excitement for the upcoming season.

“Coach Grant is going to bring terrific energy to our basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Joe Hull. “Seeing the coaches he has worked with, you can tell he is ready to lead. He has hit the ground running at practice, and we are all excited.”

 4. A players’ coach

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 1.14.47 AM

courtesy of CofCSports

 

Grant was a point guard during his playing days, which means he was responsible for distributing the ball to his teammates.

He brings the same goal to his coaching style- craft a game plan to makes sure everyone on the court is utilized effectively and has a chance to succeed.

“For our guys, I was them 25 years ago, and I know how to is to play this game, so I think that makes everyone excited,” Grant said.

5. Talent to work with

courtesy of CofCSports

 

Grant raves about the returning talent on his squad. He loves what he sees in senior starting point guard Anthony Stitt, who was second on the team in scoring and first in assists last season.

The Cougars’ new coach wants to push sophomore wingman and sharpshooter Canyon Barry into winning the CAA player of the year. Plus, he has big man Adjehi Baru, who he wants to establish early and often in the low post.

“I’d like our guys to play with passion. I’d like to see them cry, I’d like to see them smile and celebrate. I want these guys to be fully invested and play with confidence,” Grant said.

 6. A hard worker

courtesy of CofCSports

courtesy of CofCSports

 

After a summer of turmoil within the basketball program, Grant knows that it will take hard work and plenty of effort to get the team back into contention for the CAA title.

He is ready for the challenge, especially with tough games against defending national champion Connecticut, West Virginia, and Miami on the schedule.

“We are going to have to work hard. We are revamping a program right now. I think we are in a good place and you’ll see us fight for this school and this city,” Grant said.

7. He can’t wait for this season

courtesy of CofCSports

Although it’s a long season, Grant is ready. And he’s been ready.

“We’ve had some great practices so far. I’m excited,” Grant said.

The team’s 25-point win in the season-opener was a tell-tale sign of that energy, and though the Cougars lost in their home-opener 80-67, the energy at T.D. Arena was a good sign of things to come.

-by Jason Lutz 

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