February 10, 2008 in Sports

LSU may hire first black coach

By Glenn Guilbeau Gannett News Service
 

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana State University may hire a black coach to lead one of its two major sports for the first time in the history of the school.

The men’s basketball program has an opening after the firing of John Brady, announced by LSU athletic director Skip Bertman on Friday at a news conference.

One of the most discussed possible candidates is Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant, who is black.

“I don’t think having an African-American coach here in any sport would be a problem,” Bertman said. “I’ll hire the best available coach regardless of race.”

Grant, 41, was all set to become Florida’s coach last year when Billy Donovan accepted the head coaching position with Orlando of the NBA. But then Donovan changed his mind and stayed at Florida. Grant remained at VCU, which went 28-7 last season and beat Duke in the NCAA tournament before losing to Pittsburgh. The Rams are 17-5 this season.

A Miami, Fla., native, Grant was an assistant under Donovan for 10 years at Florida before taking the VCU job in 2006. “I’ve heard the name,” Bertman said of Grant with a deadpan. “I’ve read at least two articles that said he would be the next head coach here at LSU. And then I read where he would be the next coach at South Carolina.”

South Carolina coach Dave Odom retired earlier this season.

“We’re setting no boundaries in the qualifications of the coach other than to say we’re committed to fielding a winning team,” he said. “In my mind, that’s a team that would play in the NCAA tournament on a regular basis and would annually compete for championships in the West and in the SEC.”


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