This is the second time that the College of Charleston has hired Earl Grant.
Grant, 37, just hopes his tenure with the Cougars lasts a little longer this time around.
The former Stall High School star, who was hired as the College's head basketball coach on Tuesday, met with members of the media for the first time Wednesday afternoon. Grant replaces Doug Wojcik, who was fired on Aug. 5 after allegations of verbal and physical abuse surfaced in two separate independent investigations.
Grant was originally hired in late June 2006 when the College introduced Gregg Marshall as the school's new head basketball coach. Grant and Marshall, who was the head coach at Winthrop at the time, had driven down from Rock Hill together for the official press conference.
The school issued Grant a courtesy car and a cellphone. He got to keep them for all of one day as Marshall had a change of heart on his drive back to Rock Hill and decided to remain at Winthrop.
"Hopefully they'll let me keep my cellphone a little longer," Grant said with a chuckle.
Grant was on his way back to Clemson on Tuesday afternoon when school president Glenn McConnell and athletic director Joe Hull called to give the Clemson assistant coach the good news about the job.
He turned around in Columbia and hustled back to Charleston. Grant immediately called all the players and met with members of the team for about an hour Tuesday night. Grant figures he got less than two hours of sleep Tuesday night.
"It was a long, long night," Grant said. "I felt like I was on the phone all day. I didn't get much sleep. I'm kind of going on adrenaline right now."
With the start of practice less than six weeks away and the opener against Furman set for Nov. 14, Grant realizes that there might be many sleepless nights ahead.
There were many items on Grant's to-do list, but the main priority for the new head coach was to gain the respect and trust of the players who had been through so much turmoil since the allegations against Wojcik first came to the public's attention in early July.
"I think it's going to take some time before the players trust and respect me," Grant said. "They've been through a lot of adversity the last couple of months. I told the guys when we met that they didn't choose me, but I'm not here by accident. It wasn't a mistake. This is a place I've always wanted to be, and together we're going to be successful."
Other high priorities over the next few weeks will be hiring a staff, installing his offensive and defensive systems, and hitting the recruiting trail.
Grant said he retained assistant Antonio Reynolds-Dean, who was hired by Wojcik back in June. The status of assistant coaches Joe Wallace and Ryan Freeberg were not known.
"Antonio exemplifies the spirit of what I want in an assistant coach," Grant said. "He's done a great job as the interim coach the last month."
Other coaches that are expected to join Grant's staff are Clemson assistant coach Dick Bender and The Citadel's J.D. Powell. Former Wake Forest associate head coach Jeff Battle is another possibility, Grant said.
"Jeff might be going after my job at Clemson," Grant said.
Like Wojcik, Grant will emphasize defense and rebounding, which have been trademarks at Clemson and Wichita State, two of his most recent stops as an assistant coach.
"The most important thing is defense and rebounding," Grant said. "I've been associated with teams that have been first or second in the league in points allowed and defensive field goal percentage. We're going to defend and rebound the ball.
"I want to push the ball up the floor and attack on offense. I want to be able to put guys in the best possible position to be successful on offense."
Despite getting a late start on recruiting and missing the all-important AAU national tournaments in July, Grant is confident he'll be able to sign players. Grant spent the entire summer recruiting for Clemson and knows the talent.
"We had an A-list and B-list at Clemson, so I know what's out there," Grant said. "This is one of the greatest cities in the country. This place is built to win."
"I know that Antonio has been recruiting guys and I'm going to start making calls tonight. We're going to be patient. We're not going to sign players just to sign them. They have to be right fit in the classroom and on the court."