UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM U.A. PRESIDENT DR. ROBERT WITT REGARDING ANTHONY GRANT
From UA: TUSCALOOSA â€” University of Alabama President Dr. Robert E. Witt released the following statement regarding the Universityâ€™s agreement with Anthony Grant to become the Crimson Tide’s 19th head men’s basketball coach:
â€œI am pleased to welcome Anthony Grant and his family to The University of Alabama and Iâ€™d like to commend Mal Moore for his efforts during this search. Coach Grant has a proven record as a head coach, as well as a strong commitment to the success of student-athletes in all facets. Coach Grantâ€™s vision, drive and integrity throughout this process made it clear to us that he is the right person to lead our menâ€™s basketball program.â€
And the AP has moved its story. The official word from UA is below. Here is the AP story on Anthony Grant. Notice this: “Grant spoke to football coach Nick Saban before coming to Tuscaloosa and met with him while in town. Saban has spoken about the importance of a strong basketball program to complement football, since recruits often go to hoops games on official visits. But the six-time national champion football program has long been king at the Southeastern Conference school, where Paul “Bear” Bryant once roamed the sidelines in his trademark houndstooth hat.” (rest of AP report embedded below)
Here’s the official word from UA’s Media relations:
TUSCALOOSA â€” The University of Alabama will introduce Anthony Grant as the Crimson Tideâ€™s menâ€™s basketball head coach during a press conference Sunday at 6 p.m. Central time in the Naylor Stone Media Room in the Mal M. Moore Athletic Building on the UA campus. (The press conference is closed to the public.)
â€œI am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle with Anthony Grant to become men’s basketball coach at the University of Alabama,â€ said UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore. â€œAs our search progressed over the last few weeks it became readily apparent that Coach Grant is an excellent fit to lead our program. His record at Virginia Commonwealth is outstanding and his coaching background is filled with championship success at the collegiate level.â€
Grant, the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2006, led the Rams to a 24-10 record this past season and a No. 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA in the final seconds, 65-64. The NCAA appearance was the second in Grant’s three-year tenure at VCU and third straight postseason appearance. At VCU, he amassed a 76-25 (.752) record and a 45-9 (.833) mark in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) games.
â€œMy family and I are very excited and grateful for the opportunity extended to us by Dr. Witt, Coach Moore and the University of Alabama,â€ said Grant. â€œWe have been given the opportunity to create a very special situation for menâ€™s basketball at the University of Alabama and we look forward to getting started. Thereâ€™s a commitment throughout the athletic department to make sure that we have the resources necessary to compete for championships.â€
Grant comes to UA after leading the Rams to their third-straight CAA regular-season championship and second CAA Tournament title under his watch. In his two NCAA Tournament appearances he has a 1-2 record with a 79-70 upset win over Duke in the 2007 tournament. That season saw Grant lead the Rams to a program best 28-7 record and CAA Coach of the Year honors.
A Miami, Fla., native, Grant is no stranger to the Southeastern Conference having served 10 years on the staff at Florida, five years (1996-2001) as an assistant coach and five years as associate head coach under Billy Donovan (2002-06). Grant helped lead the Gators to their first national title in 2006 and laid the groundwork for UF’s 2007 national championship before departing for VCU. While on the Florida staff, the Gators won the SEC Tournament in 2005 and 2006, captured three SEC Eastern Division titles (2000, 2001 and 2002) and earned back-to-back SEC Championships in 2000 and 2001. In 1999 and 2000, the program made its first back-to-back ‘Sweet 16’ appearances in school history and appeared in the national championship game in 2000. During Grantâ€™s time in Gainesville, the Gators advanced to the NCAA Tournament in eight straight seasons and compiled a 226-98 (.698) record.
Grant followed Donovan to Florida in 1996 after spending two seasons at Marshall (1994-96) as Donovan’s top assistant. Prior to that, he spent one season as an assistant coach at Stetson (1993-94). Grant began his coaching career in the high school ranks in his hometown of Miami, Fla., where he won three state titles and was nationally ranked five times as an assistant at Miami Senior High School (1987-92) before serving one season as head coach at Miami Central High School (1992-93).
Noted as a strong recruiter, Grant recruited and coached nine McDonald’s All-Americans and seven NBA first-round draft picks at Florida. Four of his last seven recruiting classes at UF were ranked in the top five nationally. At VCU his 2007 recruiting class was ranked as the fifth best in the mid-major ranks.
Prior to beginning his coaching career, Grant played his collegiate career at the University of Dayton (1983-87), guiding the Flyers to a 70-49 (.588) overall mark, a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, and one NIT berth. In his 105 appearances in a Flyer uniform, Grant registered 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior.
Grant, who will be the 19th menâ€™s head basketball coach in Alabama history, is married to the former Christina Harrell of Miami, Fla. They have three sons â€“ Anthony, Preston and Makai â€“ and one daughter, Jayda Danielle.