Grant Names Tide Basketball Staff
"I'm excited about the staff we've assembled and I think it speaks volumes for the perception and reputation of Alabama basketball on the national scene," said new Alabama Coach Anthony Grant. "We have been able to attract a staff of high character, knowledge and experience. I'm definitely excited about the steps we've taken in cultivating this staff."
Brannen, Pujol, Kane and Weigel all served with Grant at VCU while Pettway, a former UA standout and assistant coach last season, was retained from the previous staff. Hipsher, who coached Grant at the University of Dayton, is reunited with his former student after spending the past two seasons as the associate head coach at the University of South Florida.
Dan Hipsher brings a wealth of coaching experience to Alabama with 29 years in the collegiate coaching ranks, 15 of those as a head coach at three different institutions. Prior to joining the USF staff, Hipsher was an assistant coach at Arkansas following a nine-year stint as head coach at the University of Akron (1995-2004) where he was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in 1998.
Before rebuilding the Zips' program, he spent two seasons at Stetson, where Grant joined his staff for a season, and earned Trans-America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1995. Hipsher began his 15 years as a head coach with a four-year tenure at Wittenberg College where he posted a 97-18 record, three-straight conference titles and three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances.
In addition to his assistant coaching experiences at USF, Arkansas and Dayton, he also spent time on staffs at Miami (Ohio) and Miami-Dade Community College. Hipsher graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology. He was a two-time captain and academic All-American for the Falcons.
John Brannen follows Grant from VCU where he spent three seasons helping guide the Rams after spending three seasons in the same capacity at St. Bonaventure. Noted as a strong recruiter, he helped VCU land a class ranked in the top five among mid-majors and was instrumental in developing St. Bonaventure's world-wide recruiting plan to help rebuild the Bonnies' program. At Eastern Kentucky, he was the top assistant for three seasons and he helped recruit back-to-back classes that were ranked in the top 100 nationally. He also spent a season at the University of Charleston, helping coach the squad to a 28-4 record and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
As a student-athlete, he played under Grant at Marshall University where he led the Southern Conference in scoring with 20.9 points per game in his senior season (1996-97) and earned tournament MVP honors. A two-year player at Marshall, he scored 1,008 points after transferring from Morehead State. A Rhodes Scholarship finalist, he graduated with honors, earning a degree in business administration.
Rounding out Grant's coaching staff is a familiar face at The Capstone, Antoine Pettway. Pettway served as an assistant coach at his alma mater last season after a two-year stint on the staff at Jacksonville State. A former walk-on, he helped lead one of the most successful periods in Alabama basketball as a player, advancing to the NCAA Tournament three times and making the school's only ‘Elite Eight' appearance in 2004.
Grant's three additions to his administrative staff include former VCU assistant Tony Pujol as the director of basketball operations. Pujol spent three seasons on the VCU staff after two seasons as an assistant at Appalachian State. Prior to that he was a high school coach in south Florida for 13 seasons, including nine at Northwest Christian Academy in Miami, Fla. where he posted a 250-46 record and won state titles in 1999, 2003, and 2004. Pujol, a south Florida native, graduated from Sterling College (Kansas) in 1989 with a degree in business administration and was a standout in both basketball and baseball.
James Kane will serve as the program's video coordinator after filling the same role the past two seasons for Grant at VCU. During the 2006-07 season he was a graduate assistant for the Rams after spending a season as a basketball operations and scouting analysis intern for the Charlotte Bobcats. A Florida native, Kane attended the University of Florida on an academic scholarship and graduated as a merit scholar with a degree in sport management and minor in business administration. He also played on the Gators' scout team under Grant, then an assistant at Florida.
Andy Weigel joins the staff as the team's strength and conditioning coach after two seasons at VCU in the same position. Weigel will also assist with the men's tennis team's strength and conditioning as he did at VCU. Prior to rejoining Grant at VCU, Weigel spent two seasons at Florida working with the Gators' basketball, golf and tennis teams. A Wisconsin native, he graduated from Florida with a degree in exercise and sport science in 2006.
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