Bill Grier

AP Photo

Oklahoma State adds former head coach to complete coaching staff

Leave a comment

Travis Ford has finalized his coaching staff, as he announced this week that Bill Grier will join Oklahoma State as an assistant coach.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have someone with such an impressive reputation and coaching resume joining the Cowboy family,” Ford said. “He’s always been regarded as a top-notch recruiter and tactician of the game.”

Grier spent eight years as a head coach at San Diego, where he went 117-144 and reached the 2008 NCAA tournament. Prior to that, he was an assistant at Gonzaga from 1992-2007, where he played a major role in the growth of the program to the national level.

“I am very excited to join Travis Ford’s coaching staff and become a part of the Cowboy family,” Grier said. “It’s a tremendous honor to be part of a program with such great history and support and I look forward to competing in the prestigious Big 12 Conference.”

Grier will join Butch Pierre and former Houston head coach James Dickey on Ford’s staff.

San Diego parts ways with head coach Bill Grier

Bill Grier
Leave a comment

San Diego announced a change at head coach on Monday as the team parted ways with eight-year head coach Bill Grier. The school had an official release to announced the decision.

The 51-year-old Grier is best known for taking the Toreros to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008 after upsetting UConn in the opening game.

Since then, San Diego missed the postseason entirely until a postseason run to the CIT quarterfinals in 2013-14. The program finished 15-16 and 8-10 in the WCC this season.

A former 16-year assistant coach at Gonzaga, Grier finishes his career at San Diego with a 117-144 record.


San Diego’s players will earn college credit during trip to Italy

AP Photo
Leave a comment

With the NCAA allowing college programs to take an international trip once every four years, basketball teams can get a head start on the upcoming season. Returnees can get used to new roles, newcomers can get used to an entirely new system and the coaching staff can tinker with lineups in hopes of figuring out their best rotation ahead of the official start of practice.

The focus tends to be on the athletic gains to be made, with a mere nod to the chance to experience a country the players may not have had the opportunity to visit without the aid of an athletic scholarship. But a few schools have looked to make sure their players benefit from an educational standpoint as well, with San Diego being the latest to do so.

The Toreros head to Italy on August 12 and thanks in part to Theology and Religious Studies Professor Florence Gillman, head coach Bill Grier and his staff were able to put together a curriculum that will include a final exam that they’ll take on August 22. In order to prepare for the trip players have taken a summer course taught by Prof. Gillman on Early Christianity, and while in Italy they’ll be asked to chronicle their travels via photos and a journal.

Players may have been inclined to do those things without being required to do so, especially the taking pictures part. But San Diego’s players will be able to earn college credit for it, allowing them to participate in the study abroad program that many student-athletes miss out on because of athletic obligations.

“By providing our student-athletes the opportunity to participate in study abroad programs, we are expanding the reach of international education in a way that often gets overlooked on college campuses,” said Kira Espiritu, director of USD’s undergraduate study abroad program. “Usually, when people think of underrepresented populations, they think of first-generation college students or see it from a financial perspective. In this case, the underrepresented are an athletics team.”

From a basketball standpoint San Diego, which finished the 2013-14 season with a 18-17 record (7-11 WCC) and reached the quarterfinals of the CIT, returns one of the WCC’s best backcourts in seniors Christopher Anderson and Johnny Dee and junior Duda Sanadze. However the Toreros will have to account for the loss of Dennis Kramer, who averaged 11.5 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game as a senior.

With Kramer the Toreros struggled on the glass, ranking seventh in the WCC in defensive rebounding percentage and ninth in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage. The games will help USD as they look to account for the graduation of their best rebounder.