A longtime assistant to Billy Donovan, Grant will return to the Florida sidelines this season to take over the role that was vacated by Matt McCall. McCall will replace Will Wade as the head coach at Chattanooga. Wade was recently named the new head coach at VCU, where, coincidentally, Grant spent three seasons as a head coach after leaving Florida the first time.
“Pretty much everyone in that office is like family to me,” Grant told Gatorzone.com. “So this is like coming home. The way it all worked out? God has a plan.”
Grant went with Donovan from Marshall to Florida back in 1996, and he was an assistant with the Gators until 2006, when he accepted the head coaching position at VCU. After three seasons in which Grant led the Rams to a 76-25 record, he took over at Alabama. Grant spent six seasons with the Crimson Tide before parting ways earlier this spring.
Anthony Grant has been fired by Alabama, the school announced on Sunday afternoon, precisely 45 minutes before the start of the Selection Show.
Grant had been the head coach of the Crimson Tide for six seasons, but he reached the NCAA tournament just once in those six seasons after going to the Big Dance twice in three seasons while at VCU.
“We are ultimately judged by wins and losses on the court. We haven’t made satisfactory progress in that area,” Bill Battle, Alabama’s athletic director, said in the release.
The Tide went just 18-14 this past season, going 8-10 in the SEC and losing in the first round of the SEC tournament. Grant won the SEC West in 2011 and finished second in the division in 2013, but both years his Alabama team missed the NCAA tournament.
One name to keep an eye on as his replacement: Murray State head coach Steve Prohm.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant announced on Monday that junior forward Shannon Hale will get surgery this week and be out for the rest of the season. The 6-foot-8 Hale suffered the foot injury in the first half of the Feb. 24 contest against South Carolina.
Hale averaged 8.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season for the Crimson Tide, who are 17-12 and fighting for postseason positioning. Already without guard Ricky Tarrant for much of the second half of the season, now Alabama has to rely on inexperienced players for their two remaining regular season games and the postseason.
In his first season playing for the program after transferring in from Tulane, Alabama redshirt junior guard Ricky Tarrant established himself as the team’s second-leading scorer with an average of 13.1 points per game. However Tarrant hasn’t played since the Crimson Tide’s two-point loss to Florida on January 27, a game in which he ruptured the plantar fascia in his foot.
The hope was that Tarrant would be healthy enough to help the Crimson Tide later in the season. But head coach Anthony Grant announced Thursday that Tarrant, who has missed the last eight games, will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. And the foot issue isn’t the only one that needs to be addressed either, as Tarrant also has to undergo a surgical procedure on his left knee.
Tarrant, Alabama’s No. 2 scorer, also requires surgery on his left knee. Doctors had initially planned to fix what Alabama described as a bony prominence in the knee during the offseason. But Grant says Tarrant’s foot injury was not healing rapidly enough for him to play in the next few weeks.
Grant also stated that forward Shannon Hale, who played just 12 minutes in Alabama’s win over South Carolina Tuesday night due to a foot injury, is doubtful for their game at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Since losing Tarrant, the Crimson Tide have alternated wins and losses over the last eight games. Senior guards Levi Randolph and Rodney Cooper, the team’s other two double-digit scorers, have led the way on the perimeter for a team that is 17-11 overall and 7-8 in SEC play.
The release states that Varidel has pre-existing injuries from before his time at Alabama.
“Since arriving on campus last May, Christophe has battled pre-existing injuries that have prevented him from participating in any individual workouts or team related activities,” Grant said in the release. “After several months of seeking medical assistance from multiple physicians and being unable to reach a solution to his issues. Christophe and I both feel it is in the best interest of his long-term health and well-being for him to step away from basketball at this time. This will allow him to focus on getting healthy while continuing to pursue his master’s degree from Alabama.”
Varidel started his college basketball career at Florida Gulf Coast before transferring to Division II Chaminade. In five games with Chaminade last season, Varidel averaged 21.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
“I am disappointed to end my college career this way, but I have to accept the situation,” Varidel said. “I would have loved to challenge myself at such a high-level of basketball and help the team reach its goals. I would like to thank coach Grant and the rest of the coaching staff for the opportunity and apologize to all the fans for not being able to play this year.”
Losing Varidel’s experienced scoring will hurt Alabama’s depth this season as they were hoping the graduate transfer could provide a boost behind senior Levi Randolph and junior Retin Obasohan this season. Instead, the Tide will look to Tulane transfer Ricky Tarrant and freshman Justin Coleman as depth.
A three-star guard according to Rivals, Ingram is 6-foot-4 and goes to Theodore High School in Theodore, Alabama. During his junior season at Theodore, he averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game.
Alabama came into Ingram’s recruitment later than some schools, offering him in late July, but the Crimson Tide were able to land Ingram over Wichita State, UAB and Louisiana Tech. Ingram visited Wichita State in September, but Grant can offer early playing time at Alabama, as well, and the local point guard couldn’t resist the chance to stay home.