January 28, 2009

Birmingham News on Anthony Grant

Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News says that Anthony Grant isn't coming to Tuscaloosa per his sources. If he comes to the SEC, it will be to coach the Georgia Bulldogs. He's much more interested in our opportunity because:
"Why would he prefer Georgia to Alabama, given the choice? Georgia has a better in-state talent base, and Georgia has proven it will hire a black head basketball coach."
Grant's agent, UGA alum Mark Carmony of Career Sports and Entertainment, was rumored to have informally asked that Grant be considered as part of UGA's search if the job had opened up last year.

Let's back up. Who is Anthony Grant?
Grant was Billy Donovan's top assistant from 1994 at Marshall thru 2006 at Florida. He is currently in his third year as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth where he is 67-20 overall and 39-7 in his league. In his first two seasons, he won his conference's regular season title; however, he only made the NCAA tourney once after his squad lost the Colonial League Conference Championship game in Year 2.

He is best known for beating the 6th seeded Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Tourney in Year 1. He was also widely speculated to be Billy Donovan's successor at Florida if Billy had taken the Orlando Magic job.

While in Gainesville, the Gators and Grant landed:
    1 National Title
    2 Final Fours
    2 SEC Tournament Championships
    2 SEC Regular Season Championships
    3 SEC East Titles
    Dozens of obscenely talented players
He's a good basketball coach and a lights out recruiter with SEC and Atlanta AAU ties, but UGA may shoot higher at least initial when a search opens.

The biggest knock on his resume right now is the lack of longevity, and he's only won a single NCAA Tourney game. I will say that's one more NCAA Tourney games than Dennis Felton has won in 10+ years as a head coach, but Felton isn't the measuring stick for the next hire.

The other concern with Grant...the Duke win came with players recruited by Jeff Capel, Oklahoma's coach.

Regardless, Scarbinsky's article is interesting. Pat Forde of ESPN lists the other high-major conference jobs that may open this season. It gives you a sense for who UGA may be competing with.

See Also:
-- Anthony Grant Bio - Wikipedia

PWD

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

MEH.

Chance said...

I'm curious to see what else opens up in the off-season, but this could be an interesting hire if Evans decides to pursue Grant after we kick Felton to the curb.

I suppose at present we are in hurry up and wait mode.

Mr. Egger said...

The "he won with Capel's players" argument doesn't exactly hold water Paul. Capel didn't make the NCAA tourney in either of his last two years at VCU. So I guess they either got better with age, or Grant did a better job with them than Capel did.

And that conference needs more bids. With the success VCU, George Mason, and others have had in the tourney, just taking their conference champ leaves out a worthy team.

Anonymous said...

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Koogan said...

I don't understand the comment "Georgia has proven it will hire a black head basketball coach" as a reason Grant might not want to go to Alabama. If 'Bama offered him the job, wouldn't it indicate they were willing to hire a black coach too?

Anonymous said...

Anthony Grant, really? I mean shouldn't we take a run at someone else first?

To me given Grant's connection to UF and the fact that he was the heir apparent to Donovan, I think we could be inviting a "Tubby"-like situation when Donovan leaves.

We need someone who believes this job can be a destination.

His comments about Bama are interesting. Does anyone know if CSE represents Croom?

Anonymous said...

Anthony Grant was Florida's first choice when Billy left temporarily. I can't think of a better potential hire off the top of my head. I don't think we're looking at a Tubby situation unless Donovan were to retire in the next five years or so. If things went well and Grant really built up the program, I doubt he would leave for Florida.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Egger: Who recruited Eric Maynor? Thanks, all hang up and listen.

mitch said...

I would be happy with Grant but he wouldnt be my first choice.

Anonymous said...

If we are interested:

Make his buyout to UF $20 million.
Make his buyout to UK or GT $15 million.
Make his buyout to Duke, UNC, Maryland or Wake $10 million.
Make his buyout to any other SEC school, NC State or Georgetown $5 million.

Anonymous said...

Also, Grant/UF never got a kid from Georgia during his tenure with the program.

Anonymous said...

The flipside of a large buyout, whether it be from Grant or Capel, or whomever, is that they'll want some security on their end, i.e. a 12 yr contract with a longevity bonus and high starting salary.
You don't give up freedom of movement for nothing.

Charley said...

Looking at that list from Forde, only St. Johns appears to be a significantly higher profile program, and they've been in the doldrums for longer than we have. I didn't see Arizona on there, but they're looking too, now that I think about it. I'd much rather try and hire a coach this year rather than a time when you have programs like UCLA, UK or KU trying to get a coach. We have the money and resources to compete with lots of schools, but probably not that top tier, where tradition seems to outweigh a lot of other things.

Anonymous said...

i'd Rather got after the UF's old Coach at UNLV*

Paul Westerdawg said...

Koogan,

That comment means that an African-American candidate might not want to waste his time interviewing with Alabama if he's only a token.

The only way for Bama to prove they are willing to hire a black coach in a sport that matters is to actually hire a black coach in a sport that matters.

2 of our last 4 b-ball coaches have been black.

PWD

Anonymous said...

P-Dawg: Perhaps I am way off base, but having that history, and a Damon at the helm, makes this job very attractive to African-American candidates. Most notably, Mike Anderson and Jeff Capel.

MaconDawg said...

He's definitely right about the recruiting base. That's one thing that's always stung me about Felton. For all his talk about recruiting instate talent, with a few notable exceptions (Mercer, Williams, Thompkins) most of them won't return his calls, metaphorically speaking.

And I think it should be clear at this point that we basketball fans would erect a statue to a green, purple, or off-fuscia coach if he could just get us to back-toback tournament appearances and teach his backcourt how to outshoot my grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to defend Felton, but let's be realistic guys. The recruits have not been returning most of the calls from Athens.

The last McDonald's AA to play for us was Damien Wilkins and he transferred in from NC State.

The last McDonald's AA to originally sign and play for us was Carlos Strong in 1992! Before Carlos Strong was Elmore Spencer in 87 and his best days were at UNLV.

You have to go back to James Banks, Vern Fleming, Terry Fair, and Donald Hartry days to have more then one AA on the roster.

The recruiting issue is systemic and I am not confident that it will be corrected with this hire.

Anonymous said...

Jarvis Hayes was MCDAA-level talent. Just wasn't noticed.

MaconDawg said...

Anon. 3:02, I see your point, but I'm not talking about McDonald's All-Americans here. Few schools ever sign the Derrick Favors-type players.

But there are 10 players in Rivals top 150 for 2009 who are from the state of Georgia and not named Derrick Favors. None of them will matriculate at Georgia. That's almost inconceivably poor. I mean, there are top players from Georgia going to Alabama, Auburn and Florida State for pete's sake, none of which is really the sort of roundball powerhouse that should come in and eat your lunch.

Hobnail_Boot said...

So since there are many who feel we should start 'aiming higher' than Grant, who do you have in mind?

A-Phiz said...

Tubby Smith among others would be the best for the UGA basketball program but I don't really see that happening unless we are willing to spend A LOT of money on them. Anthony Grant would be a great fit...he is a young, energetic coach, has ties in the area, and already has expressed interest in coming here.

skidawg1985 said...

I am convinced that hiring a basketball coach is a big crap shoot.

Grant is the hot coach based on one win; not a resume that inspires me.

Maybe Grant would connect with the players better without crushing them (a comment my brother made about Felton is that he is a hard coach to play for).

JT said...

When hiring a coach, the first thing I look at is how far away from the old coach can I get? For instance, if I have a hot-tempered coach without a proven recruiting track record and a history of terrible p.r. moves, I'd look for the exact opposite.

If Grant can relate to the players, fight off other conference schools for in-state talent and not come off like an utter douche, then yes, I say go for him.

You can't polish a turd and right now this program is a turd. Coach K ain't walking through the door. We just need a fresh change.

Anonymous said...

By higher, many mean an established candidate. A proven winner at a high level. Someone most would say we'd have no shot at. We've gone cheap, way too long here. Grant may turn into a great coach, but he isn't one now and may never be one. The reality is we would be taking a huge risk that he is the real deal. Imo, time has come for us to poach a coach that someone else took a risk on. For example, Jeff Capel, Sean Miller, Tom Izzo, Jaime Dixon, Mark Few, and guys of that ilk. The "name" coaches that 80% of folks say we have no shot at. As far as mid-major coaches go, Brad Stevens is a better coach than Grant.

Jeremy said...

Hire him... He's young, obviously talented, and if he has ties to the area, why not? We AREN'T a high profile program folks...

And Tubby will not come back, I just read an article in SI not long ago about how incredibly happy he is to be there. Of course, $$$ changes anything, but I don't see it happening for sure.

Anonymous said...

We aren't high profile because we have spent zero and expected nothing for the last century. Hell, it wasn't but little more than a decade ago that we had a f-ing animals stalls attached to Stegeman.

Money changes things and we have more money than most at the moment. The ifs and buts about are our history are all true, but you have to spend money to make money. There is absolute no reason for people not locked into season tickets to show up and watch the current product. We are pissing away money every time we don't sell out. We have to rob the football program to pay for everything. Time has come for the basketball program to start paying for itself and a significant number of non-revenue sports.

Grant is a roll of the dice. He isn't from the area. He has no GA ties. He hasn't recruited the area. He is a Florida guy. That is his roots from HS to his time as an assistant at UF. Moreover, his record is middling. Is he awful? No, but he is a far cry from a sure thing or the best coach available.

Anonymous said...

Cool. Until then, thanks for providing the butt again tonight and every night, "dawgs."

A-Phiz said...

I would be surprised if Felton isn't gone by tomorrow morning

Anonymous said...

Wow....26 pts? really? Time to go to the woodshed...this is pathetic...and in the worst way possible. I want to go hug Joe Cox just and Andy Landers and Youcalan just to feel better about UGA athletics in 2009....

Jeremy said...

anon @ 9:22:

I must have read it wrong then. I apologize. I may have read too much into the recruiting ties with the SEC and Atlanta AAU scene (I'm not being facetious, it really may be a stretch to think that those attributes are "ties", I mean, doesn't most every coach recruit Atlanta in some way? Its full of studs)

I just think we need a new face of the program and I hardly think Bob Knight would come out of retirement to coach the Dawgs (but wouldn't that be awesome?). In other words, we're gonna have to hire some relative unknown to turn us around.

I love college bball and March Madness is a close second to the BCS bowls in sporting events in my mind. But it sucks not to have a team to pull for come March. I loved Tubby when he was here, hated him when he left the program (but don't blame him AT ALL), and would love to see him back.

So why not grab a talented assistant to move us in the right direction (a la Mike Smith and the Falcons --- I know, I know, there are hardly any comparable college bball coaches out there on the same level)?

Jarred said...

There is zero chance Tubby Smith will leave Minnesota. He wanted to get out of the spotlight, that is why he left UK (though he would of been fired the following year). He can stay at Minn and never have to worry about expectations as long as he produces winning seasons.

And Tom Izzo, really? Thats laughable, they are actually a legit program.

Anonymous said...

if u cant beat the gators hire their former coaching staff....btw the ole ball coach may need a job next in 2010

VCUFan said...

Anthony Grant not a good coach? Not a good record??? Give me a break. Don't you guys know how to GOOGLE down there in GA?

You could only be so lucky to get him, and I pray you, nor anyone else does. And I find it hard to believe he would leave for another SEC school other than FL anyway. Nothing personal, but especially somewhere like AU or GU.

And BTW, puts Caple to shame in every way I can think of, except in front of a TV camera, and that's from a VCU season ticket holder (yes, Caple was our coach before Grant) since Tubby was an assistant here under JD Barnett in the early 80's. Personally, I and many others, are glad Caple left and can't wait to play them next year when they come to Richmond. We'll see how good a coach he really is when Griffin's gone.

Geeze, I love it when people that don't have a clue run their mouths like they know what they're talking about. At least I don't remember anyone of you saying Grant's not a good recruiter....

I am, however, flattered you folks think so highly of VCU's past and present coaches! ;^)

Good luck to those of you wishing to sign a big name, has-been.

 
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