Kelly Quinlan of JacketsOnline.com has identified Anthony Grant of Alabama as a possibility to come coach Georgia Tech. You’ll have noted that I didn’t include Grant on my (slightly redrawn) short list of names for the Jackets, and I didn’t for a simple reason: I don’t think he’d take the job.
When Georgia had an opening in 2009, Grant wasn’t just on my list: He was my first choice. And, being human, I did note that Grant, who wound up in Tuscaloosa, went 2-0 against Mark Fox, who wound up in Athens, this March. (Not that Fox wasn’t a good hire — he was.) I like everything about Grant: His history as a Florida assistant; his record at VCU and now the way he has taken a not-terribly-talented Tide team and taught it to defend.
If Dan Radakovich could land Grant, I’d say call off the search and have the press conference tomorrow. But I’m afraid what happened with Georgia in 2009 could happen to Tech. The Jackets will make a pitch to a hot guy at a big school, and he’ll wind up getting a fat raise to remain at said big school.
You’ll recall that Evans, then Georgia’s athletic director, pursued Jeff Capel of Oklahoma and Mike Anderson of Missouri, each of whom had taken his team to the Elite Eight. It was believed Evans thought he’d persuaded Anderson to take the Georgia job, whereupon Missouri announced he’d signed a contract extension. Three days later, after flirtations with Oliver Purnell of Clemson and Frank Haith — Frank Haith? — of Miami, Evans hired Fox.
As it happened, Georgia got lucky Capel didn’t succumb to its siren song. Oklahoma fired him Monday. Anderson has kept on winning, and now he is — depending on whom you believe — either the only choice to succeed John Pelphrey at Arkansas or the last man the Razorbacks should hire. (Some believe Anderson’s ties to Nolan Richardson, who’s still bitter over being forced out in Fayetteville, will cause Arkansas to look elsewhere.
Back to Grant: Alabama is a school that has never been afraid to get excited about basketball. C.M. Newton and Wimp Sanderson had superb teams there, and even Mark Gottfried had a couple. Tide administration has every reason to think Grant will lift this program onto the SEC’s top shelf, and Alabama surely has more money to throw at Grant — who’s already making $1.83 million per season, or half a million more than Paul Hewitt was earning — than Tech could.
And that’s why Grant wasn’t on my dumb little list. (I nixed Anderson for the same reason.) I don’t see Tech as being able to pay $2 million per annum for a new basketball coach. (For comparative purposes, Paul Johnson makes $2.3 million.) If I’m wrong and Grant winds up wearing a gold tie, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. He’d be a great get. I’m just not sure he’s gettable.
By Mark Bradley