Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MSU to lose head basketball coach

From the Times Record News - Nick Gholson

Midwestern State is losing its men’s head basketball coach.

Not only that, the school is losing Grant McCasland to a team in its own conference and own division.

It is rumored that the Abilene school has told McCasland that it intends to jump from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I in the next couple of years.

for the complete story go to the Times Record News

ABILENE – ACU director of athletics Jared Mosley has made it clear that he wants the school's men's basketball program to pull itself out of the bottom half of the Lone Star Conference and begin playing at a championship level.

Late Tuesday, he and the program took a huge step toward both of those goals when Mosley tabbed Midwestern State head coach Grant McCasland as the 15th head men's basketball coach in ACU history. McCasland took the ACU job just seven days after the Mustangs appeared in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the second straight season. McCasland will be introduced to local media, the ACU family and the Abilene community in a press conference at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Hunter Welcome Center on the ACU campus.

"I'm extremely excited to welcome Grant, Cecelia and their family to Abilene and to ACU," Mosley said. "Grant embodies everything we set out to find in our next head coach. He has been able to establish himself as an excellent head coach, recruiter and leader of young men. His heart for impacting the lives of his players beyond just the game of basketball is truly remarkable and will be key to us building the nationally competitive program we desire here at ACU."

McCasland is one of the most widely respected young coaches in NCAA basketball, having led the Mustangs to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in his only two seasons at Midwestern State. In 2009-10, he led Midwestern State to the Lone Star Conference South Division champion, the LSC Post-Season Tournament championship, the NCAA Division II South Central Region championship and a spot in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.

In the just-completed 2010-11 season, McCasland’s Mustangs finished 25-9, won the NCAA Division II South Central Region title for the second straight season and again reached the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The Mustangs were knocked out of the national tournament in the first round with a 70-64 loss to eventual national champion Bellarmine.

McCasland was the LSC South Division Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) South Central Region Coach of the Year in 2010.

In two seasons at Midwestern State, McCasland led the Mustangs to a combined 56-12 mark. In that same two-year period, the Wildcats were a combined 17-36, including 2-24 in the LSC South Division. McCasland, however, is excited about not only the opportunity to turn ACU into a winner, but also by the environment he'll be a part of at ACU.

"When God tells you to go, you go," McCasland said. "When God has a plan for your life and He opens doors that make that plan evident, then that's where you go because we're called to follow Him. The driving force behind the decision to make this move was to make sure we were doing it for the right reasons and that it was a good fit for our family. I believe this is absolutely the right fit for me and my family."

McCasland is taking over a program that has had just one winning season since 1998-99 and made just one appearance in the Lone Star Conference Post-Season Tournament since the 1997-98 season. ACU's only winning season in the last 12 campaigns was the 2007-08 season that saw ACU finish 20-9 in former head coach Jason Copeland's third season.

Despite those numbers, McCasland is looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding the ACU program into a championship contender.

"I was able to work for special people at Midwestern State, and when you talk about (ACU president) Dr. Phil Schubert and Jared Mosley, you're talking about a special combination," McCasland said. "When you have great support you can win championships, and that will be our goal at ACU. I agree to an extent that this is a building process, but as a competitor, building a program is something that motivates me. The biggest part of building a program is to build it as quickly as possible, and to honor God with the way we go about doing the job. I want to build this program off of the foundation that's already been laid in the athletic program. I'm excited about ACU because I think we can do really special things."

Mosley said ACU's recent struggles in men's basketball made it imperative that the program add someone with head coaching experience as its next leader.

"It was critical that we go out and find an established head coach with a proven track record of success at the college level," he said. "And certainly no one can argue with the success Grant has had in his seven years as a head coach. I'm really excited for the young men in our program and about the vision Grant has for the future of Wildcat basketball."

Prior to his tenure at Midwestern State, McCasland spent five highly successful seasons as the head coach at Midland College, taking over the program prior to the 2004-05 season from former ACU head coach Shanon Hays. McCasland was Hays' assistant coach for the 2003-04 campaign, helping the Chaparrals to a 30-6 record and a spot in the National Junior College Athletics Association national semifinals.

In his first season as the head coach in 2004-05, the Chaps won the Region V championship and advanced to the NJCAA Elite Eight. In 2006-07, the Chaps finished 29-8 and won the national championship, and in McCasland’s final season in Midland (2008-09), the Chaps finished 33-4 and lost in the national championship game. In his five seasons at Midland, McCasland racked up a record of 143-32 (.819 winning percentage) and earned district, region and national Coach of the Year honors.

Prior to his six seasons at Midland College, McCasland spent two seasons (2001-02 and 2002-03) as the assistant coach at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling Colo. Prior to those two seasons he spent two seasons (1999-2000 and 2000-01) as the Director of Basketball Operations on James Dickey's staff at Texas Tech.

McCasland, 34, earned Big 12 Academic all-Big 12 honors as a four-year walk-on guard for Harry Miller at Baylor University. He graduated from Baylor in 1998 with degrees in entreneurship and management. He received his master’s from Texas Tech in 2001.

McCasland is married to Cecelia (Dillon), and they have four children.


Anonymous said...

ACU needs to just admit to everyone now that they are going Division I. Why else would this coach - or any other person trying to make a living by coaching men's basketball - leave Midwestern for ACU? Even as a Division I job this is a lateral move at best. Strange.

Anonymous said...

D1-AA is very much different than D2, ACU is definately seeting itself up for the void being left by UTSA and Tx State

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