By: Steve Miller – Sports Editor
After a five-day search that surfaced many candidates, Dayton’s director of athletics Neil Sullivan announced today that the University had hired Anthony Grant to serve as the next head coach of the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team.
Grant, a 1987 UD graduate, has most recently spent time as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder since 2015.
Before that, he spent six years as the head coach at the University of Alabama, where he won 117 games, one SEC regular season championship and made one NCAA tournament appearance.
Prior to Alabama, Grant served as the head coach for three seasons at Virginia Commonwealth, then a part of the Colonial Athletic Conference, where he won two CAA tournament championships and appeared in two NCAA tournaments.
Even before he became a head coach, Grant experienced deep runs in the NCAA tournament as an assistant at the University of Florida. Coaching under Billy Donovan, Grant helped lead the Gators to a national title in 2006.
“Anthony Grant is a proven winner with the highest integrity,” Sullivan said about the hire. “He has successful experience in coaching, recruiting and playing basketball at an elite level. I welcome Anthony to our staff and look forward to partnering with him as we continue to aggressively pursue graduating student-athletes, winning conference championships and advancing in the NCAA tournament. He is absolutely the right coach.”
Grant himself said, “It’s a great responsibility to take over at an institution that is so well-respected. Anyone you talk to in college basketball would say our program is a successful one, but the potential is here for so much more.”
Scoochie Smith, the Flyers’ senior point guard set to graduate in May, shared his thoughts on Grant’s hire with Harrison Sanford of Spectrum Sports.
“I think it’s a good hire,” Smith said. “Someone that is familiar with the city. He’s someone who knows the stakes at hand, knowing that Dayton is a program that continues to be on the rise and upholding that standard we set.”
On campus, the reactions have been cautiously optimistic, with students still reeling from Archie Miller’s departure for Indiana.
“It’s kind of mixed,” junior management information systems major AJ Pinyerd said. “I’m excited for the fact that we have a young and upcoming coach…I don’t know, I miss Archie.”
“I think it was a good choice,” said sophomore mechanical engineering major Tim Hanson. “Not only does he have some solid experience in coaching but he also is a UD alum meaning that hopefully his heart will be fully dedicated to the program. I think that with our solid upcoming starting roster he’ll do just fine. Even if we struggle at first I will remain confident and enthusiastic for our team’s future.”
As a player at UD, Grant won a varsity letter all four years and started three of those seasons. In 105 games, he averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. He played in two NCAA tournaments.
He is the 19th head coach in the school’s history and just the second in the modern era to have also graduated from Dayton. The other was his own Flyer coach Don Donoher.
Grant is taking over a program that has appeared in a school-record four consecutive NCAA tournaments and is coming off 11 straight winning seasons. Although UD graduates four scholarship seniors this year, there are seven varsity letterwinners returning as well as one of the University’s most prized recruiting classes preparing to enter.
Grant will be formally introduced at a press conference on Saturday at 1 p.m. Stay up-to-date on FlyerNews.com and follow @FlyerNews and @FlyerNewsSports on Twitter for updates.
Photo courtesy of Dayton Athletics