Stillman head men’s basketball coach Michael Grant has accepted the same position at Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland. He will be the sixth coach to lead the Eagles program since 1964
“While the Stillman athletic department will be losing a family member, it is good to see coaches and administrators advance to the next level,” said director of athletics Paul Bryant. “Coppin State is a quality Division I program and they are getting a quality coach in head coach Michael Grant.”
A fifteen-year veteran, who has won 56 percent of his games, Grant comes to Coppin State from Division II Stillman College, where he was the head coach for the last six years., Grant was also the head coach from 2003-05 at Southern University (La.) where he replaced the legendary Ben Jobe.
“There are two things that we were looking for in our men’s basketball coach,” Coppin State president Mortimer Neufville said. “The graduation rate and an ability to build programs. He’s graduated over 80 percent of his student-athletes and everywhere he has been, he has won.”
At the conclusion of the 2013-14 campaign, Grant amassed a six-year school record of 100-73. In 2012-13, the Tigers finished the season with an 18-10 overall mark and a 12-5 SIAC record. Center Torrean Walker ranked first in the SIAC and seventh in Division II in blocked shots per game while guard Jeffrey Wherry finished first in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Tigers led the SIAC in assists, blocked shots, scoring offense and three-pointers made per game.
“This was another opportunity for me to build a program,” Grant said. “I am excited to be here and looking forward to playing an exciting brand of basketball. The way we play. There will be nobody in this conference that will be able to play the way I play. We’re going to get up and down the floor. We’re going to run and press. Every team that I’ve coached over the last 15 years, we’ve led the conference in scoring. Our goals are to make sure we’re scoring over 80 points per game and leading the conference in rebounding and steals.”
During the 2010-11 season, he guided Stillman to a 24-8 overall mark, a 19-5 conference record, second place in the SIAC and to the regional final of the Division II South Regional. The Tigers finished the season eighth in the NCAA with three-pointers made (9.4 per game) and blocked shots (4.2 per outing).
“We believe he’s the best fit for our program,” Coppin State Director of Athletics Derrick Ramsey said. “He has experience replacing a legendary coach, which is important. We’re excited to have coach Grant join the Coppin State family.”
Credited by former players as a “disciplinarian,” Grant’s coaching genius was first established at NAIA-turned-Division II member Central State (Ohio) University. In seven seasons, Grant led the Marauders to three 20-win campaigns and only one losing season-his first in 1996-97. During the 1999-00 season, Grant led Central State to the program’s first victory in the NAIA National Tournament since 1979. By the end of his seven-year tenure at the school, Grant had become only the fourth Central State coach to have won more than 100 games in his career with the school.
Grant began his coaching career at his alma mater, Malone College in Ohio, where he first studied under Hal Smith as a student assistant. Grant then served on Smith’s staff in 1985 as a full-time assistant before heading to the University of Michigan as a graduate assistant where he helped coach and develop his younger brother Gary Grant, who eventually became the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1988. Gary Grant was the 14th overall player chosen in the 1988 NBA draft.
Grant also coached at Kentucky State University, Alleghany College, Cleveland State University, and the University of Toledo. The Eagles will begin their season in November. One of Grant’s biggest goals is to recruit from Baltimore and keep the talent within city limits.
“We have to show Baltimore some love,” Grant said. “We have to be able to make sure we take care of home. Once we get one recruit from here, the rest will follow. I am looking forward to having an opportunity to go out in the community and meeting all of the high school coaches and building Coppin State starting at home first.”