College of Charleston basketball coach Earl Grant agreed in principle to a five-year contract extension that will keep him at the school through the 2022-23 season and make him the highest paid coach in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Grant and College of Charleston athletic director Matt Roberts have been working on an extension for weeks and on Friday finalized the new contract that will pay the former Stall High School star more than $400,000 a year.
There are still details to be worked out and the contract is expected to be completed and signed in the next two weeks. Final financial terms were not released, but Grant's total compensation package was worth $400,000 this past season. Grant was scheduled to make $437,500 for the 2018-19 season, but that figure will be even more under the new deal.
“From the first day I stepped on campus, I knew that Earl Grant was a special person and coach,” Roberts said. “He’s a great coach with great character and what we’re trying to do is to make this a destination job for Earl and his family. We want College of Charleston to be his next and hopefully last job.”
Grant, 41, has guided Charleston to a 77-56 mark during his four seasons with the Cougars. Charleston is 51-18 over the past two years, including a 26-8 mark this past season. The Cougars won the CAA Tournament title and earned their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1999, losing to Auburn in a first-round game in San Diego last week.
“My family and I love it here and I’m humbled that Matt Roberts, president Glenn McConnell and the board of trustees have the confidence in me to lead this program,” Grant said. “This is a special place to be and the future is very bright. I think we’ve got the program moving in the right direction.”
The Cougars went 14-0 at TD Arena this season, won 11-straight games at one point and finished by winning 14 of their last 16. The Cougars produced four all-conference honorees in Joe Chealey, Grant Riller, Jarrell Brantley and Cameron Johnson. It also marked the first season in program history to have four 1,000-career point scorers on the roster in Chealey, Johnson, Brantley and Riller.
"What Earl Grant has done with our men's basketball program in four years is nothing short of remarkable," said College of Charleston president Glenn McConnell in a prepared statement. "During his tenure, coach Grant has taken a team that was lacking in self-confidence and turned it into a powerhouse in the Colonial Athletic Association and an NCAA Tournament team. He has a great relationship with our men's basketball student-athletes, who work hard for him and greatly respect him. We look forward to having coach Grant at the College for many years to come."