Earl Grant is coming home.
Alma mater: Stall High School
Last job: Assistant basketball coach at Clemson
Playing experience: Played from 1999-2000 at Georgia College
Coaching Experience: assistant coach at The Citadel (2002-04); assistant coach at Winthrop (2004-07); assistant coach at Wichita State (2007-10); assistant coach at Clemson (2010-2014).
RECRUITING: Signed 10 of the Tigers' 16 recruits brought to Clemson in his four years on staff, including 2014 1st-team all-ACC forward K.J. McDaniels
Grant, the former Stall High School star and Clemson assistant coach, was named the head basketball coach at the College of Charleston Tuesday, ending two months of national headlines and turmoil within the program.
College of Charleston president Glenn McConnell announced the hiring in an email late Tuesday afternoon.
Grant, 37, replaces Doug Wojcik, who was fired on Aug. 5 after allegations of verbal and physical abuse of players and athletic department staff surfaced in two separate independent investigations.
It's been a stressful couple of weeks for Grant, but well worth the wait, he said.
"It's a dream come true for me and my family," Grant said late Tuesday night. "It's been my dream to become a head coach for a long time and to be able to do it in my hometown at such a great university is such a blessing. I'm so excited about this opportunity. There is a tremendous foundation that is already in place, now it's just a matter of putting the finishing touches on it."
Grant and former Charlotte head coach Bobby Lutz were the two finalists for the job after three candidates - Anthony Johnson, Mike Young and Ritchie McKay - pulled their names from consideration last week.
"I believe the College of Charleston has a boundless opportunity with coach Earl Grant, and I am confident he will help launch a new beginning full of excellence, teamwork and success," McConnell said in a prepared statement. "Earl inherits a team that has bonded together during the past months and has shown character, fortitude and leadership. I am very proud of how this team has stood up to adversity."
Grant met the players for about 45 minutes Tuesday night.
"It was a great meeting, I know what kind of kids they've got here, so I'm looking forward to getting to know them better," Grant said. "I'm ready to get to work."
Grant and Lutz were in the Lowcountry over the weekend for second interviews.
"I have known Earl Grant for 14 years dating back to when he worked our basketball camps at The College," said legendary Cougars coach John Kresse. "I am delighted that we have chosen a rising star in the basketball world. Earl will bring a very positive, energetic and genuine style to our basketball program. Earl has been a very proven and polished assistant coach having worked for two of the best and most successful head coaches in the profession in Gregg Marshall (Wichita State) and Brad Brownell (Clemson)."
Grant, Lutz, Young, Johnson, McKay and former George Washington head coach Karl Hobbs were among six candidates interviewed by the school's eight-person search committee, which was chaired by Hull.
"We are thrilled to welcome Earl back home and to the College of Charleston," Hull said. "He will bring great energy and excitement to our program. He has learned the game from terrific coaches and is ready to lead the Cougars. We need to hit the ground running and Earl is ready to do that."
Grant has built a national reputation as a top-notch recruiter during his decade as an assistant coach at The Citadel, Winthrop, Wichita State and Clemson.
"I couldn't be happier for Earl because he's such a great person and a great coach," Brownell said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. "I know how much work is involved in becoming a head coach. I know this is a dream come true for Earl and I think this is a great fit for the College of Charleston. He's going to do a great job."
Grant played a pivotal role in signing All-ACC small forward K.J. McDaniels, who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers this past June in the second round. Grant, who has been at Clemson for the past five seasons, has helped sign 10 of Clemson's 15 players who were on the floor this past season. He was Clemson's lead recruiter for players such as Austin Ajukwa, Jaron Blossomgame, Gabe DeVoe, Ibrahim Djambo, Sidy Djitte, Rod Hall, Patrick Rooks and McDaniels.
Before going to Clemson, Grant spent six seasons as an assistant under Marshall, the former College of Charleston assistant coach. Grant was with Marshall from 2004-07 at Winthrop, then followed him for three more years at Wichita State from 2007-10.
"I think this is the perfect hire for the College of Charleston because the players, the students and the community is going to rally around him," Marshall said. "Earl is a very good basketball coach. People who think he's just a good recruiter don't know him very well. Earl is a blue-collar guy. He's going to come to the office, roll up his sleeves, and work hard each and every day. If you don't like Earl Grant then there's something wrong with you. He's going to unite the College and the community."
Grant began his coaching career as an assistant at The Citadel from 2002-04.
As a player, Grant played two years at Division II Georgia College. He led the school to two appearances in the NCAA Division II tournament and to consecutive Peach Belt Conference championships (1999, 2000).
In 2000, the Bobcats advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II tournament. He was a first-team All-Peach Belt selection in 2000.
Grant, who made $160,000 this past season as an assistant coach with the Tigers, signed a new contract in July that would have paid him $175,000 this year.
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