When Wichita State assistant Earl Grant took a job at Clemson in 2010, coach Gregg Marshall wasn’t sure it made sense. He figured his program was about to start a run of success. He wasn’t so sure about Clemson.
Turns out, he was right. And wrong.
WSU is winning big. Grant, after four seasons as an assistant at Clemson, is winning big after Tuesday’s announcement that he is the new head coach at College of Charleston.
“I didn’t think it was a great move at the time, but it turned out to be,” Marshall said. “He just persevered and now he’s got a dream start to his coaching career.”
Grant, 37, spent six seasons with Marshall, three at Winthrop and three at WSU before moving to Clemson. He worked at the ACC school under Brad Brownell and the combination makes him appear to be a great fit at College of Charleston. He is a native of North Charleston, S.C. and coached at The Citadel, located in Charleston, for two seasons before joining Marshall at Winthrop. Marshall recruited Grant, out of high school and junior college, and didn‘t get him either time.
It would be hard to find anyone more immersed in South Carolina than Grant. Marshall, himself a former assistant at College of Charleston, is excited to see Grant take over a program that remains high on his list.
“He knows the state,” Marshall said. “He’s a grinder. It’s hard not to like Earl. I’m very, very proud of Earl.”
Grant takes over the program after a difficult search, one that started in August when the school fired Doug Wojcik. The College of Charleston, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, is regarded as a job with strong potential. Former coach John Kresse, one of Marshall’s mentors, turned the program from an NAIA power into an NCAA Tournament team in the 1990s, helped by Marshall. The school opened a 5,100-seat arena in 2008.
“Players are going to unify to him because he's such a likable guy,” Marshall said. “They need that right now. College of Charleston has got to have a time of healing and he'll bring people together.”
Marshall’s coaching tree now includes five former assistants with head coaching positions — Grant, Bowling Green’s Chris Jans, Tennessee State’s Dana Ford, Charleston Southern’s Barclay Radebaugh and Army’s Zach Spiker.
“We've got other guys on our staff right now that are right there,” Marshall said. “Their time is coming.”