Never mind the black and gray polo shirt; Earl Grant was too busy to find anything maroon before he met the Charleston media Wednesday.
He looks like he belongs, well cast as the leader of a mid-major program with March Madness aspirations.
"I know for me, the last three days, how hard it was just trying to have patience and to wait and see what decision was going to be made here," said Grant, a North Charleston native hired Tuesday as College of Charleston head coach. "What I learned through that process is that patience means long suffering."
This is a resolute 37-year-old man who as an assistant coach helped Clemson improve by 10 wins last season. In the process, the Tigers beat Duke by 13 points. Grant's prize Clemson recruit, K.J. McDaniels, was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA draft. Grant helped build Wichita State into a top program. He has been closely following 20 high school players that aren't quite good enough for the ACC but might make ideal Cougars.
This will probably work out.
But Earl Grant inherits a crudely unique mess that might be in its early stages.
With College of Charleston officials hiding under desks all summer, a lot of questions have remained unanswered since The Post and Courier published a 50-page report in which players and staffers said former head coach Doug Wojcik crossed the line with yelling and intimidation. That was July 3.
How did the board of trustees let former president George Benson merely suspend Wojcik when he had a chance to fire him with cause?
How did the board let current president Glenn McConnell try to fire Wojcik with cause after Wojcik already agreed to settle the investigation flap with a suspension?
Does the school really intend to press its Wojcik case to court, forcing players and others into depositions?
Hull's limbo status
Athletic Director Joe Hull showed up Wednesday but didn't shed much light.
When did the school learn of fan-favorite coaching candidate Anthony Johnson's 2011 arrest for domestic violence, and why didn't this come up when Johnson was a College of Charleston head coach candidate before Wojcik was hired in 2012?
"Only a few days before Anthony withdrew his name from consideration, when I told him there would be a background check," Hull said. "It didn't come up in 2012 because Anthony never made it that far in our process."
Hull on his job status?
"I don't know."
Few college basketball coaches have to deal with this stuff.
Fewer are hired in September.
But if Grant's official press conference Friday afternoon - scheduled to take place outdoors in 90-degree weather - comes with head-scratching, it's a College of Charleston basketball coach introduction tradition:
Tom Herrion, 2002 - Why not Gregg Marshall?
Gregg Marshall, 2006 - What do you mean the president and athletic director weren't in on this hire?
Bobby Cremins, 2006 - How could Gregg Marshall change his mind?
Doug Wojcik, 2012 - Huh?
Changing the 'spirit'
At least Wojcik got to start his tenure in the Southern Conference, winning 24 games and advancing to the SoCon championship game. Then the College of Charleston bolted for the more rugged Colonial Athletic Association, and the Cougars last year went 14-18.
Had the school stayed in the SoCon, Wojcik might still be the head coach; complaining players rarely torpedo winners.
Grant is ready to provide fresh air while honoring tradition.
"Everything that (former head coach) John Kresse did and all the former players, that's here. That's established and that's not going to change," Grant said. "The spirit of the program has to change, and that's my job with my staff - to come in here and change the spirit of the program."
Patience is in short supply in college athletics. Most College of Charleston fans are probably willing to give Grant a break - but how many will attend basketball games while doing so?
Or will they wait until the Cougars start winning consistently, then jump back aboard a bandwagon that went off the tracks and into a slow-motion crash.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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