The Alabama Crimson Tide fired head men's basketball coach Anthony Grant on March 15 after six seasons at the helm.
Anthony Grant is out as Alabama Crimson Tide head men's basketball coach.
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University of Alabama director of Athletics Bill Battle made the announcement via an official press release on the school's official athletics website on Sunday:
"Earlier today, I informed Anthony Grant that he will not be retained as head men's basketball coach at the University of Alabama. The decision was reached only after a great deal of deliberation, but I feel it is in the best interests of the basketball program to make a change in leadership. This has been a very difficult decision, as I have the highest respect for Anthony as a coach, as a molder of young men, and as a person.
"Anthony is a man of impeccable character who has been an excellent representative of our program. He has made tremendous contributions to our program and we always will be grateful for his efforts. Anthony, his wife Chris, and their children have been tremendous assets to our University and our community.
"In this business we are ultimately judged by wins and losses on the court and, for a variety of reasons, we haven't made satisfactory progress in that area. We have a great university, and an excellent athletics program that has expectations for all our teams to meet the highest standards in competition, in the classroom and in the community.
"Today's decision is part of a larger evaluation of every facet of our basketball program that is intended to improve every aspect of our basketball program. A key component in that effort is to get all of our fans pulling in the same direction, and to make Coleman Coliseum the best home court advantage in the SEC.
"Out of respect for our players and coaches, I will make no further comment regarding this decision or the coaching search. I want to extend my complete support to our players and our coaching staff. We will immediately begin a national search for a new head men's basketball coach."
According to AL.com's Michael Casagrande sources, a decision on Grant would have been previously made at the conclusion of the NCAA season. Despite his ouster, the Crimson Tide have a strong chance of making it to the NIT bracket which will be revealed at 7:30 p.m. CT on March 15.
Casagrande adds the team has yet to tap an interim coach. His messages to Alabama athletics seeking comment on Grant's firing were not returned.
On the other hand, USA Today's Nicole Auerbach reported on Sunday that Battle "will be conducting a national search to hire Grant's replacement."
Grant had led the Crimson Tide to an 18-14 win-loss record at the time of the team's elimination from the recent SEC tournament. When he spoke with Casagrande back then, he said he hadn't really pondered about his future with the team:
"Haven't given it any thought. Our focus is on this year's team controlling the things we can control on a daily basis, hopefully we can continue to play this season. Hopefully we'll see what happens for us on Sunday. We'll know more then. As I always do at the end of the year, we'll evaluate as we move forward."
Grant still has four years remaining on his deal. Casagrande stresses the contract has a $1 million buyout for every year remaining if he is dismissed.
Alabama will owe Anthony Grant just over $4 million in buyout money, offset by his future earnings.— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) March 15, 2015
CBS Sports' Gary Parrish says Grant's solitary NCAA Tournament appearance in six seasons, inability to win a single NCAA Tournament game, the Crimson Tide's mediocre SEC conference record and the success of Alabama's rivals, the Aubun Tigers, ultimately did him in.
Grant amassed a 117-85 (.579) win-loss records in his six seasons as Crimson Tide head men's basketball coach, per RollTide.com. He also led Alabama to two NIT appearances in 2011 and 2013 and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012.
He served as an assistant under Florida Gators head men's basketball coach Billy Donovan from 1996-2006. He helped the Gators win a national title before taking on the VCU Rams head coaching position. Under his guidance, the Rams went to the NCAA tournament in 2007 and 2009, per Casagrande.
With Grant's dismissal and Oliver Purnell's resignation on March 14, Alabama and the DePaul Blue Demons currently have the most lucrative job openings in men's college basketball.
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