Arkansas State hires Baylor assistant Grant McCasland to replace John Brady
For those outside the northeast Arkansas area, do you remember coach John Brady? The man who coached the LSU Tigers to a Final Four in 2006, only to be fired less than two years later. He quickly landed another job in March of 2008 at Arkansas State. After eight seasons, and a 121-128 record in Jonesboro, Brady announced he would resign at the end of the year. Coaching search. Vacancy filled. The new Arkansas State men’s basketball coach is Grant McCasland.
McCasland has spent the last five years as an assistant under Scott Drew at Baylor. McCasland is use to winning. As an assistant at Baylor, the Bears have gone 125-55 in five years, while reaching the NCAA Tournament four of those five years, including a number five seed in this year’s NCAA Tourney. Before his time in Waco, he was head coach of Midland College in Texas where he spent five seasons and amassed a record of 143-32. In his first season at Midland, they made the NJCAA Elite 8. His third season produced a NJCAA National Title. He would make the NJCAA title game in his final year at Midland as well. On top of the great team success he achieved while at Midland, he also achieved personal success, being named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year.
After his successful run at Midland, he moved up to NCAA Division II Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas. While at Midwestern State he would go 56-12 as head coach and make the NCAA Division II Elite 8 in each of his only two years spent in Wichita Falls.
Fresh out of college, McCasland started his career at Texas Tech as Director of Basketball Operations. He spent two years at Lubbock, in that role, before becoming an assistant at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. Outside of his time at Northeastern Junior College in Colorado, McCasland has spent most of his life in Texas.
He played college ball for Baylor. During the press conference where was introduced as the new Arkansas State head coach, he told a story about playing a game in Jonesboro in 1998. He admittingly didn’t play much. But he was in the game long enough to get his ball stolen by Chico Fletcher, Arkansas State’s best player at the time. Fletcher ripped McCasland and proceeded to lay it in the other way. Arkansas State won that game, 66-64.
That game made a big impression on McCasland. While the experience of getting your ball taken away, and losing the game by two, isn’t what most people would want to remember, it was the atmosphere that McCasland remembered. He remembered how packed the Convocation Center was. He remembered the excitement and passion the fans in Jonesboro showed. Fast forward 18 years, and McCasland hopes to have the home crowd cheering for him for different reasons than on that night in 1998. This time he hopes it’s because he is on the winning side of a lot more Arkansas State basketball games.
Grant McCasland has had a pedigree of winning wherever he has gone. Now he gets his shot as the head guy in NCAA Division I basketball. He shares the same dreams as the University and it’s fans, to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Win championships, make the NCAA Tournament, and turn the Convocation Center in Jonesboro into the new Grantland of basketball. #Grantland #WolvesUp
Brandon Reid covers NCAAB & Arkansas State for MyFantasySportsTalk.com | You can follow him on Twitter @New_Breid
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