Dayton Q&A

Six questions with UD coach Anthony Grant

Mike Boyer

Anthony Grant is out to prove you can go home again. The new University of Dayton men’s basketball coach was a three-year starter under legendary coach Don Donoher. He graduated in 1987. Grant and Donoher are the only two UD grads to coach the Flyers. Grant, who has a career college coaching record of 193-110 in nine seasons as head coach at the University of Alabama and Virginia Commonwealth University, succeeds Archie Miller, who left after last season to coach Indiana University. Grant spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.

Is coming back to Dayton to coach at your alma mater a dream job?

I guess it was unexpected. Obviously being a UD graduate I’m very proud of my alma mater. I’ve kept an eye on the coming and goings and the success of the program. When the opportunity came about it was something I was definitely excited about. In the coaching profession you never know when opportunities will present themselves.

Establishing relationships with new players and recruits can be a big challenge when coming into a new program.

When I first came on board that was paramount to me. Getting to know the guys that were on the team and trying to establish a relationship with them and a level of familiarity and trust is the most important thing. I had a chance sit down with each player and learn about him and share expectations. We’ve gone through some shared experiences to get to know each other. And the same thing with the recruits, I met them and their families so they can get to know me and develop a comfort level, but it is a process. Every day for us will be a new experience.

What makes the Flyer program special in your mind?

It starts with the commitment from our university and from our board, the president of the university and the AD down to myself and my staff and the players. I think there’s an alignment here in the way we do things and the way the program is run and the expectations we have. I think we have one of the best fan bases in the country in terms of their knowledge of the game and their support for the university. When I came here as a student-athlete more than 30 years ago that was one of the things that stood out to me.

Did coach Donoher offer any special words of advice when you took the job here?

He and I have kept in touch quite a bit over the years from the time I was coaching in high school. I’ve always been able to pick up the phone and reach out to him for advice and bounce my thoughts off of him. I’m thankful he’s always been there to listen or for a word of advice. It’s been really important to me.

You’ve coached a lot in college but spent the last two years in the NBA. Will that influence your UD coaching style?

The NBA is a different game than college, but some of the things that go into winning don’t change like the way you run your program and the culture you want to create. The X’s and O’s of offense and defense translate (from college to the pros), but I’ve been out of the college game for a couple years so some of it will be a learning process for me, but I’ve got a good staff and assistant coaches to help with the transition.

What’s your favorite thing to do away from the basketball court?

My wife and I have three kids living at home. When I’m not here you’ll typically find me at home. I enjoy spending time with my family. Whenever I can I like to find a quiet place to fish. I’m a pretty simple guy.