clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BC Makes A Hire, Two Other Former ACC Figures Fired

Bad day for Archie Miller and Dave Leitao

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Charleston v Auburn
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 16: Head coach Earl Grant of the Charleston Cougars watches play as they take on the Auburn Tigers in the first half in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Viejas Arena on March 16, 2018 in San Diego, California.
Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Just one day after the NCAA Selection committee announced the tournament field, the coaching carousel picked up speed with several moves of interest to ACC fan bases.

First, Boston College hired Earl Grant. Fair warning: we’re bound to call him Anthony Grant a few times until Earl settles in.

Grant comes from the College of Charleston where he had one bad year, his first, and after finishing 7th in the CAA in his second year, never finished lower than 4th until this asterisk season when CofC finished 9-10. It might not sound that great but being consistent in the Colonial takes some talent and shouldn’t be discounted.

He is familiar with the ACC, having grown up in Charleston, and later as an assistant with Clemson, where Brad Brownell held him in high regard.

His character is also widely respected, which can’t hurt.

He also has some experience in rebuilding a program as his predecessor, former Matt Doherty assistant Doug Wojcik, was let go after allegedly being verbally abusive to his players. Hard to imagine where Wojcik got that idea from.

Grant has had some exposure in that area himself, having worked for Gregg Marshall at Winthrop and Wichita State before departing for Clemson. Marshall of course was relieved by Wichita State after allegations of truly abusive behavior emerged.

Will Grant work out for BC?

Well it’s hard to say. Pretty clearly they weren't able to get a home-run hire which is fine, really. Most of the ACC’s best coaching hires have been rising stars from smaller programs or outstanding assistants. NC State and Maryland went so far as to hire brilliant high school coaches. Everett Case worked out; Bob Wade didn’t (both schools at least considered DeMatha legend Morgan Wooten who certainly would have excelled).

Consider the basic path for most ACC schools though: Vic Bubas, NC State assistant, Dean Smith, UNC assistant, Norm Sloan, Florida (then a basketball backwater), Lefty Driesell, Davidson, Carl Tacy, Wake Forest, Terry Holland, Davidson, Bill Foster, Utah, the other Bill Foster, UNC-Charlotte, Jim Valvano, Iona, Bobby Cremins, Appalachian State, Mike Krzyzewski, Army, Brad Brownell, Wright State, Jim Larranaga, George Mason, Skip Prosser, Xavier, Tony Bennett, Washington State and Buzz Williams and Mike Young from Marquette and Wofford respectively. UNC-G’s Wes Miller is on deck for UNC.

Of course it hasn’t always worked out. Wake Forest hired Bob Staack, who failed miserably. The Deacs also hired Jeff Bzdelik from Air Force and Bill Self assistant Danny Manning, both of whom were ultimately failures as well.

Jeff Jones lost support at Virginia from his AD and former coach Holland, and after Valvano, NC State hired Les Robinson, Herb Sendek (and NBA coach Sidney Lowe) before Kevin Keatts, who came from UNC-W.

Grant joins a BC that’s behind on facilities and has had a hard time competing in the ACC, but he could turn out quite well. As we’ve said before, the only thing that matters in a hire is getting the right guy at the right school and then keeping him there. Never forget that Iowa State was very close to getting Krzyzewski before he took the Duke job. College basketball would have been very, very different if that had happened.

About State.

The Wolfpack faithful had high hopes that, rather than Keatts, the Pack would hire former State point guard Archie Miller, then at Dayton. He sneered at State’s offer though and took the Indiana job and held it until Monday, when two unnamed Hoosiers boosters provided $10 million to buy out Miller’s contract.

Keatts is still at State with some mild grumbling, but his teams have been competitive and he has recruited reasonably well. He made the NCAA in his first season, the NIT quarterfinals in his second, before the tournament was canceled in his third.

This year, the asterisk year, State was 13-10 and finished hot after a Covid-induced hiatus.

So all things considered, he’s done better than Miller, despite the grumbling, and has put together a solid base going forward.

Finally, Dave Leitao was a classic ACC hire, coming to Virginia from Northeastern to replace Pete Gillen, the ACC’s fourth head coach to have previously worked for Xavier (along with Staack, Prosser and Wake’s Dino Gaudio, who was promoted when Prosser died of a heart attack).

He lasted four years before he wore out his welcome. Leitao was one of the most disliked coaches in our ACC memory, which is saying something considering most of the disliked coaches were, unlike Leitao, highly successful.

Consider Krzyzewski, Smith, Driesell and Sloan, all widely unpopular outside their own fan bases.

But they’re all Hall of Famers except for Sloan, and Sloan racked up a 57-1 two year record from 1972-73 and 1973-74 and was the coach who finally broke John Wooden’s iron grip on the NCAA championship (Wooden won every title from 1967 to 1973 and won one last one in 1975 before retiring).

Leitao’s belligerent nature alienated many people at and around Virginia from the media to the radio crew and his own players. He once said that he wouldn’t praise a player’s outstanding game because nothing mattered except winning.

On Monday, DePaul held him to that, firing him after finishing in fifth place five years in a row. Earlier this month, DePaul A.D. DeWayne Peevy said “I was brought here for a reason, to fix [men’s basketball].

“I didn’t come here to be last, We’re last again.”

Works for us. Because you know, nothing matters except winning. Good riddance.