Coaching search profile: Anthony Grant

With South Carolina Athletic Director Eric Hyman in the process of searching to find USC's next head basketball coach, continues its look at potential candidates for the job. Today, GamecockAnthem's Chris Cox examines VCU head coach Anthony Grant and breaks down what type of fit he would be for the South Carolina position.

Multiple sources have informed GamecockAnthem that Virginia Commonwealth head coach Anthony Grant is one of the top candidates to replace Dave Odom as the headman of the University of South Carolina men's basketball team.

Grant, who brings an almost flawless résumé to the position, is considered one of the rising stars in NCAA men's basketball and has won at every stop that he has been given.

Grant began his coaching career at Miami Senior High School in Florida, where he captured three state titles, five consecutive national-rankings to conclude the season, and led MSHS to an overall record of 172-11.

The winning didn't begin at the high school level for Grant, however, as the 6'5" small forward helped guide the Dayton Flyers to an NIT berth and an appearance in the Elite Eight in the 1983 season. In this four years as a Flyer (1983-1987), Grant helped lead DU to an overall record of 70-49.

It was after his incredible run as a high school coach that a major university finally discovered Grant. Billy Donovan, then the head coach of the Marshall Thundering Herd, lured Grant to Huntington, West Virginia where he helped lead the Herd to a 35-20 record.

It was then that the University of Florida took a chance on Donovan, who once again helped lure Grant along for the ride.

Over the next ten seasons, Grant played a key role in Florida's success and most notably helped recruit several of the key players that contributed to the Gator's back-to-back national championship teams.

In his decade in Gainesville, the Gators were 226-98, won two national championships, two SEC Tournament crowns, three SEC East titles, and consecutive SEC Championships in 2000 and 2001.

Grant's hard work would finally pay off, as he was named the ninth head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University on April 18, 2006.

Grant, who replaced Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel at VCU, had an immediate impact on the Rams basketball squad.

In the 2006 season, the Rams cruised to an overall record of 28-7 and 16-2 in the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association).

It was in that NCAA Tournament, however, that BCS schools took notice of Grant's coaching abilities.

It was the Rams against the world, and the Rams won, as they stunned the 6th-seeded and perennial power Duke Blue Devils in the first round 79-77.

When Florida's Donovan initially decided to leave the Gators for the Orlando Magic head job, it was Grant that the Gators turned to in their search for a new head coach. That speaks volumes about Grant's ability as a coach, but Donovan eventually had a change of heart and returned to Florida while Grant stayed at VCU for another season.

Currently, Grant has his VCU squad at 23-6 and 15-3 in the CAA and has the Ram's as the #1 seed in the conference tournament, which begins this Saturday.

Grant fits the mold of everything that USC Athletic Director Eric Hyman is looking for: he's young, energetic, from a mid-major program, and would light a spark under the students and fans at the Colonial Center.

The problem that faces South Carolina is whether or not they will be able to provide enough money to land such a hot commodity in the coaching profession.

With high profile jobs like LSU and Indiana currently searching for new coaches, it remains uncertain as to whether or not USC will be able to outbid the competition for Grant's services.

Also working against the Gamecocks are the rumblings that Grant would prefer not to coach against his mentor and friend Billy Donovan, at least two times every season.

However, money talks, and if South Carolina is willing to pay the right price, Grant's relationship with Donovan may become irrelevant.

Will South Carolina try to outbid other schools to lure Grant in? Absolutely.

Will they be able to put themselves over the top and get Grant? That remains to be seen.

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