College of Charleston names Earl Grant hoops coach
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Clemson assistant Earl Grant has been named the College of Charleston new men's basketball coach, ending a nearly monthlong search since the firing of Doug Wojcik.
College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell and athletic director Joe Hull announced the hiring on Tuesday.
Wojcik was fired after his second-year with the Cougars following and investigation into allegations that he verbally abused players, assistant coaches and staffers in the athletic department.
Grant will be introduced on campus Friday. He spent the past four seasons on Clemson's staff. Before that, Grant served six years as an assistant for Gregg Marshall at Winthrop and Wichita State. He also was an assistant at the Cougars' crosstown rival Citadel from 2002-04.
Grant's hiring ends a summer of uncertainty for the Cougars. Several players who were questioned during the school's investigation were in limbo after the firing and weeks of candidate interviews.
''I believe the College of Charleston has a boundless opportunity with Coach Earl Grant, and I am confident he will help launch a new beginning full of excellence, teamwork and success,'' McConnell said in a release from the school. ''Earl inherits a team that has bonded together during the past months and has shown character, fortitude and leadership. I am very proud of how this team has stood up to adversity.''
Grant, a 37-year-old native of North Charleston, came out on top in a search that included Wofford coach Mike Young, former Charlotte head coach and current North Carolina State assistant Bobby Lutz and one of the Cougars' most popular players in former NBA standout Anthony Johnson.
The search came about after complaints against Wojcik. A 50-page report contained summaries of interviews with Wojcik and 26 others - including 10 anonymous players and five anonymous employees - who are current and former players and assistant coaches, college staffers and athletic director Joe Hull.
Wojcik said in the report he was shocked by the allegations and has not had players complain about his treatment.
Among the report's conclusions were that:
- it was likely Wojcik made comments to players that constituted name calling such as ''dumb,'' ''idiot,'' ''stupid,'' and ''variations of such words that included profanity.''
- it was likely Wojcik used a homophobic slur to brand one player ''on at least one occasion and likely on multiple occasions.''
- it was likely Wojcik made negative about players' parents and upbringing.
- it was likely Wojcik made comments that were ''threatening or challenging in nature.''
- it was likely many players believe Wojcik's behavior toward them is ''generally insulting and degrading.''
The report stated the investigator found players and former players interviewed ''had no apparent credibility issues.''
Wojcik, 50, denied using homophobic slurs or threatening players when he was interviewed for the investigation.
''Coach Wojcik reiterates what he said over a month ago; he's sincerely remorseful and apologizes publicly to those he hurt emotionally or offended. He is a better person because of this experience and he'll be a better coach,'' attorney Scott Tompsett said on Wojcik's behalf last month.
Messages left with Tompsett about College of Charleston's announcement on Tuesday were not immediately returned.
Grant has about two months until the Cougars play a home exhibition against Emory on Nov. 8th. They open the regular season on Nov. 14th against Furman. Less than a week later, College of Charleston starts the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan against defending national champion Connecticut.
Hull, Charleston's AD, said in the released that Grant is eager to begin.
''He will bring great energy and excitement to our program,'' Hull said. ''He has learned the game from terrific coaches and is ready to lead the Cougars. We need to hit the ground running and Earl is ready to do that.''