Most of you have probably heard the reports that we are offering Anthony Grant $1.5 Million per year. Rumors are that he was in Tuscaloosa either Sunday or Monday. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. I like his style of play, and I think he will restore a lot of enthusiasm around the program. He is a hot commodity in the coaching profession right now, and this would be viewed as a good hire nationally. He's familiar with the SEC and was very successful as an assistant at Florida.
On the downside, his head coaching resume is similar to that of Gottfried's when we hired him. His claim to fame was upsetting a #6 sede Duke team in the tournament. He has made the tournament 2 of the last 3 years, and had a respectful showing even in a first round loss this year. That's not easy to do at a school like VCU, but as Stan Heath, Buzz Peterson, and so many others have proven, winning at a small school like VCU or Murray State does not necessarily mean you can win big in the SEC.
Of course, we haven't hired him yet. I must admit I was somewhat surprised to hear we were making such an offer. I have no first hand knowledge of the coaching search, but through talking with 3 friends of mine (One who has business relations with a BOT member, another who is a High School Coach with ties to some major D1 assistant coaches, and the other who is well connected in the media) so this is all 2nd and 3rd hand information, but what I was able to piece together as of a few weeks ago was that Grant was number 3 on our list, and number 2 would almost assuredly take it if offered. Number 1 would have been a homerun hire, and while I understand there was, surprisingly, some interest from his side, it was far from a sure thing and we likely would not know for weeks. Plus, he would have cost a considerable amount more.
My guess is the Board of Trustees nixed this idea for fear that our #2 and #3 would not be available by then, not to mention being able to save some $$. If that is indeed the case, then I am somewhat disappointed, as I believe it would have been worth the gamble. I know we don't have the same stature as the football program, but that reminds me of the Saban situation where we almost settled for Rich Rodriguez.
As far as number 2 goes, his team is still playing, and maybe they were afraid Grant would not still be available if they waited out the first two options. Given the likelihood that number 2 would accept the position, to me that is all the more reason to wait out number 1.
Another aspect of all of this is that Kentucky is rumored to pull the trigger on Gillespie and go after Donovan. Donovan has already turned them down once, but should he have a change of heart and go to Lexington, it would be highly likely that Grant would return to Florida, thus taking him out of consideration for our job.
There were also some rumors that Haith from Miami was being considered. I would suspect this is nothing more than him contacting us and expressing interest. Surely we can and will do better than. I would rather re-hire Gottfried than give the job to Haith.
At any rate, the days and possibly weeks ahead should be quite interesting. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with someone who isn't even included in the 4 candidates I've discussed here.