Boston College hires Earl Grant as head men’s basketball coach

Earl Grant at his introductory press conference (courtesy Boston College Athletics)

March 15, 2021

Proven winner led College of Charleston to 2018 NCAA Tournament; its first appearance since 1999

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – William V. Campbell Director of Athletics Pat Kraft has named Earl Grant as The Clement and Elizabeth Izzi Family Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Boston College. Grant brings an impressive track record to BC after he turned the College of Charleston men’s basketball program into a consistent championship contender in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Under Grant’s leadership, the College of Charleston was one of only 21 NCAA Division I schools to have players drafted in both the 2019 and 2020 NBA Drafts. Grant led the Cougars to a top-four finish in the CAA in each of the last five seasons, including the 2018 regular season and conference tournament championship.

A finalist for the 2019 Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, presented annually to a coach who not only achieves success on the basketball court, but who also displays moral integrity off the court, Grant led the Cougars to a memorable run in 2017-18 that included the program’s second-straight 25-win campaign, an impressive 26-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. The co-regular-season champions earned the No. 1 seed in the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship and defeated No. 2 seed Northeastern in an overtime thriller to punch the program’s first ticket to the NCAA Tournament since 1999.

Grant is the 13th head coach in Boston College men’s basketball history.

“When we began our search for a new head men’s basketball coach, we set out to find a leader of young men, someone who shares our vision and our values, who could lead our program to championships while ensuring a world-class student-athlete experience and education for our players,” said Kraft. “After a comprehensive national search, it was clear that Earl is exactly what we were looking for and what our basketball program needs at this moment and I am confident he will have tremendous success in Chestnut Hill, on the court and off. On behalf of the BC community, we are thrilled to welcome Earl, his wife, Jacci, and their three sons, Trey, Eyzaiah and Elonzo to the Boston College Family.”

Grant guided the Cougars to three 20-win campaigns and a 67-22 home-court winning record over the previous six years and produced 12 all-conference honorees.

“My family and I are really excited about the opportunity to start a new journey,” Grant said. “I look forward to representing such a prestigious academic institution, to coach in the top basketball conference in America, and do it in one of the best cities in the world. I can’t wait to meet and develop a relationship with all who have worked so hard over the years to make BC a special place. I am thankful to Pat Kraft, Father Leahy and the Board of Trustees for affording me this tremendous opportunity.”

For the first time in program history, College of Charleston’s men’s basketball was recognized by the NCAA for the 2018-19 academic year. Under the guidance of Grant, the programs’ four-year rolling APR was in the Top 10% of all men’s basketball programs in the country. The Cougars were one of only 51 men’s basketball programs honored nationally. In all, 24 players have gone on to earn their degree at The College.

In 2018-19, CofC posted a 24-9 overall record with non-conference victories over Rhode Island, VCU and Memphis. Two players – Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley – were named to the All-CAA First Team. Known for their gritty defense, the Cougars led the CAA in scoring defense for the fourth-straight year holding opponents to 68.6 points per game. CofC also ranked No. 17 in the nation in turnovers per game (10.5 avg.) and No. 16 in free-throw percentage (76.4%).

Known as a player’s coach, Grant and his staff helped develop Brantley into a 2019 NBA Draft Pick and Riller into a 2020 NBA Draft Pick – the third and fourth-ever College of Charleston players to be drafted. Brantley is currently a two-way player with the Utah Jazz and was named to the 2020 NBA G League First Team and All-Rookie Team as a member of the Salt Lake City Stars. He was second in voting for NBA G League Rookie of the Year honors. Riller was selected in the second round by the Charlotte Hornets  giving the Cougars back-to-back NBA Draft picks for the first time in school history.

In 2016-17, Grant led the Cougars to a 25-10 overall record and 14-4 mark in Colonial Athletic Association play. It marked the program’s first 20-win campaign since 2013. Charleston, seeded a program-best No. 2, advanced to the championship game of the CAA Tournament for the first time since CofC joined the Colonial in 2013. They were also selected and made their fifth all-time appearance in the Postseason NIT. It was their first postseason berth (NCAA or NIT) since 2011.

In his second season with the Cougars, Grant and his staff turned the program into one of the most improved in NCAA Division I and developed four all-conference players including Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year and All-CAA Third Team selection Jarrell Brantley – the first freshman to receive such honors since 2006.

Known as a top recruiter, Grant has shown impressive credentials in both identifying and developing top-flight talent. No stranger to the ACC, he previously spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Clemson under Brad Brownell, where he made a positive impact on the Tiger men’s basketball program, both in recruiting and with player development. He worked primarily with Clemson’s point guards.

He recruited 2014 first-team All-ACC selection K.J. McDaniels to Clemson, where he ultimately ended up averaging 17 points per game as a junior and was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, before declaring early for the NBA Draft. McDaniels was selected 32nd overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Several Tiger point guards have flourished under Grant’s mentoring including incumbent starter Rod Hall. After recruiting the Augusta, Ga., native to Clemson, Grant has seen Hall develop into one of the leaders of the program. During the 2013-14 season, Hall was second on the team in scoring average and ranked among the ACC’s top 10 in both assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.

In 2010-11, Grant worked with Demontez Stitt, who was named third-team All-ACC and was a member of the All-ACC Tournament Team. That same season, Grant helped Andre Young to an ACC-leading 2.55 assist-to-turnover ratio. Young went on to lead the conference in steals per game as a senior in 2011-12, earning All-ACC Defensive Team honors. He also led the Tigers in scoring under Grant’s direction.

Clemson put together strong team results with Grant in the fold as well. In 2013-14, the Tigers went 23-13 overall and recorded a 10-win improvement from the previous season. Clemson advanced to the NIT semifinals and was 10-8 during the ACC regular season.

In Grant’s first season in 2010-11, Clemson put together a 22-12 overall record and 9-7 league mark in the ACC. The Tigers earned the No. 4 seed at the ACC Tournament and advanced to the semifinals in Greensboro, N.C. Clemson also went to a fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament and won its first-round game over UAB, 70-52, in Dayton, Ohio.

Clemson was strong defensively in four seasons with Grant part of its coaching staff. In 2010-11, the Tigers ranked No. 24 nationally in scoring defense. In 2011-12, Clemson yielded just 60.6 points per game to the opposition, the second-best figure among ACC schools. In 2012-13, the Tigers dropped their average even further to 60.1 points per game. That figure dropped to an ACC era-best at Clemson – 58.4 points per game – in 2013-14. The Tiger perimeter defense was No. 1 nationally defending the three-pointer (.286).

Grant personally signed 10 of Clemson’s 15 players recruited by Brownell’s staff. He was Clemson’s lead recruiter for players such as Austin Ajukwa, Jaron Blossomgame, Gabe DeVoe, Ibrahim Djambo, Sidy Djitte, Hall, K.J. McDaniels and Patrick Rooks.

Prior to Clemson, Grant served as an assistant coach first at Winthrop and then at Wichita State. He helped the Eagles to three consecutive Big South championships and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2004-05, the Eagles were 27-6 overall. The next season, Winthrop finished the year with a 23-8 overall record and came within two points of upsetting Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament. In 2007, Grant helped the Eagles to a 29-5 overall record and unblemished 14-0 mark in Big South play.

The 2007 campaign was a memorable one for Winthrop. With Grant’s assistance, the Eagles claimed a 74-64 upset over No. 6 seed Notre Dame in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It was Winthrop’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win in seven tries.

Grant was at Wichita State from 2007-10, when the Shockers made gradual improvement each season. In 2008-09, Wichita State made its first postseason appearance in three years and also defeated one of the nation’s top mid-major programs in Siena during the regular season. In 2009-10, Wichita State improved its win total by eight and finished 25-10 overall, 12-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament and also earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.

Prior to his stint at Winthrop, Grant was an assistant coach at The Citadel from 2002-04. Grant played two years at the Division II level at Georgia College. He led the school to two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and to consecutive Peach Belt Conference championships (1999, 2000). In 2000, the Bobcats advanced to the Elite Eight of the Division II national tournament.

A native of North Charleston, S.C., Grant earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia College in 2000. He and his wife, Jacci, have three sons: Trey, Eyzaiah and Elonzo.

The Grant File
Hometown: North Charleston, S.C.
Alma Mater: Georgia College, 2000
Degree: Psychology
Family: Wife Jacci; sons Trey, Eyzaiah and Elonzo

Head Coaching Career (at College of Charleston)
2014-15: 9-24, 3-15 CAA (CAA First Round)
2015-16: 17-14, 8-10 CAA (CAA Quarterfinals)
2016-17: 25-10, 14-4 CAA (NIT First Round and CAA Finals)
2017-18: 26-8, 14-4 CAA (CAA Regular-Season Co-Champions, CAA Tournament Champions and NCAA First Round)
2018-19: 24-9, 12-6 CAA (CAA Semifinals)
2019-20: 17-14, 11-7 CAA (CAA Quarterfinals)
2020-21: 9-10, 6-4 CAA (CAA Quarterfinals)

Overall Record: 127-89 (.588)
CAA Record: 68-50 (.576)