College of Charleston's Earl Grant, Cougars remain positive despite recent skid

Charleston's Anthony Stitt passes the ball while guarded by Hofstra's Juan'ya Green during their game Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, at TD Arena. Paul Zoeller/Staff

Don't feel sorry for first-year College of Charleston coach Earl Grant and the Cougars for their current losing streak.

The former Stall High School star certainly doesn't feel sorry for himself. Despite recent events, which include a seven-game losing streak, Grant is convinced that the Cougars are capable of something special this season.

The Cougars take on Delaware at 6 p.m. Saturday at TD Arena.

Charleston's current seven-game skid is the worst in almost three decades. It's the longest dry spell since the Cougars lost seven straight during the 1977-78 season, but is a long way off from the school's "modern-day" record.

That distinction is held by the 1965-66 and 1966-67 teams, which lost 20 straight over two seasons under head coach Pat Harden. The Cougars were 0-19 during the 1966-67 season and lost the last game - in the Dixie Conference Tournament - of the 1965-66 season.

And if Cougar fans think they've got it bad now - think again.

The Cougars' current slump would have been just a speed bump compared to what the program went through in the 1920s. According to the school's record book, the Cougars were winless during four straight seasons from 1920 to 1925. In all, the College of Charleston dropped 38 consecutive games over a four-year span. The few records that are available prior to the 1920s have the Cougars losing another 15 consecutive games from 1913 to 1920. If those records are to be believed, the Cougars did not win a game for more than a decade and at one point lost 53 straight times they stepped on the court.

Now, that's a losing streak.

Still getting a win to help build the confidence of a young roster that features 10 freshmen and sophomores is paramount.

"The losing does wear on you because you always want to go out and play your hardest and come out on top," said senior guard Anthony Stitt. "But, we just have to stay positive. Coach Grant stays positive. He keeps preaching to us, 'The next day, the next day and trying to get better and keep fighting.' That is what we are trying to do as a whole team. We don't want to worry about the loss or how many games we lost in a row. We're trying to focus on our next game and play hard. We need to play hard, and once we get that win, we can pull it together.'"

Grant said he doesn't have time to feel sorry for himself or his players. He's too busy working on the next game plan against the next opponent. The Cougars' losing streak has only strengthened his resolve.

"I guarantee you that no matter if we win or lose at 7 a.m. the next morning I'll be fired up getting ready for our next game," Grant said. "I'll be excited and watching film and preparing for the next game. I won't be pouting. I told the players I better not see them pouting. They better get ready to work and get better for our next game.

"I honestly believe I'm here to help them get through what they are going through right now. I'm convinced that's why I'm here. I feel like I've been selected and placed here to help them get through this even though it's tough and even though they don't feel good every day because it's a loss."

Despite the Cougars' recent struggles, Grant hasn't given up on this season.

"I really believe that there is going to be a breakthrough at some point," Grant said. "We're going to put everything together, offensively and defensively, and we'll have a chance to do something special this year. I think we have good talent to compete in this conference. We have played two of the best teams in the league. Hofstra, William & Mary and Northeastern, based on what I've seen on film, are three of the best teams in our league.

"We have enough talent, it's just our margin for error is smaller. We can't have nights where we turn the ball over a lot. Our defense has to play well for us to win, because we are only going to score between 60 to 70 points every night."

A memorial in remembrance of former Cougar basketball player Chad Cooke will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Charleston Music Hall on John Street.

Cooke, a walk-on for the Cougars, passed away last month while playing basketball in Chicago.

Cook was 20.

A junior majoring in business administration, he played two seasons as a walk-on for the Cougars from 2012-14.

In lieu of flowers, memorials and donations may be made through the Charleston Hope website at: www.CharlestonHope.com. Charleston Hope will create an outreach program that will continue to make a lasting impact on the inner-city youth of Charleston through sports - with hopes of reaching many more cities across the U.S. in the near future.