The College of Charleston won a big one this week - finally - by naming Earl Grant head men's basketball coach.
As Coach Grant put it Wednesday during a news conference officially announcing his hiring, the players now under his direction have recently "been through a lot of adversity."
For instance: The Cougars went 14-18 last season, the most losses for the school in 44 years. Four months later, a scathing independent report, commissioned by the school, revealed rampant verbal abuse of players and others by Cougars coach Doug Wojcik. On Aug. 5, the College, in one of its first major decisions under President Glenn McConnell, fired Mr. Wojcik "for just cause."
Then last week, the school was primed to name as head coach local favorite Anthony Johnson, who was a star at Stall High School and the College of Charleston before going on to play 13 seasons in the NBA.
But at the 11th hour, Mr. Johnson withdrew his name, citing a 2011 domestic incident with his then wife for which he eventually pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct.
Now, however, the messy firing - and hiring - processes are over. And though the school still faces the risk of a costly court battle with Mr. Wojcik, who had three years left on his contract at $400,000 per season, the Cougars can move forward under their new leader.
Coach Grant, also a former Stall High star, was an excellent NCAA Division II player at Georgia College in Milledgeville. Since earning his degree there, he has drawn widespread respect in the coaching community as an assistant at The Citadel, Winthrop, Wichita State and, for the last four seasons, at Clemson.
From Clemson Coach Brad Brownell's parting tribute: "Earl is an outstanding coach with a unique gift for connecting with young people. His positive outlook on life, passion for the game of basketball and ability to connect with people will serve him well in his time at Charleston."
And Mr. Grant evidently knows Charleston can serve him well as he strives to return his Cougars to the victorious ways of former College of Charleston coaches John Kresse and Bobby Cremins.
Coach Grant delivered this apt assessment Wednesday: "This is one of the greatest cities in the country. This place is built to win."
So congratulations to Coach Grant on his new challenge - and to the College for hiring him.
And congratulations to Stall High for producing not just a U.S. senator (Tim Scott), but the College of Charleston's head men's basketball coach.
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