Grant McCasland was hired as Texas Tech’s new coach Friday, getting a six-year contract with the Red Raiders a day after North Texas won the NIT title to wrap up that school’s first 30-win season.
North Texas was 135-65 in six seasons under McCasland, who has a master’s degree from Texas Tech. The Mean Green were 31-7 this season, which came a year after they had first broken the school record by winning 25 games.
During his time on the Lubbock campus while getting his master’s degree, McCasland served as Texas Tech’s director of basketball operations for coach James Dickey from 1999-2001.
“The commitment and vision for Texas Tech has no limits and we look forward to loving our team everyday with a greater purpose," McCasland said in a statement Friday.
McCasland earned his undergraduate degree from Baylor, where he was listed as a 5-foot-9 walk-on player who got into 47 games over four seasons, from 1995-99. He later was an assistant coach for the Bears from 2011-16 under coach Scott Drew.
“Our search committee was immediately impressed not only by Coach McCasland and his ability to win at every level of college basketball, all while creating a positive culture built upon toughness, but also his passion for Texas Tech and his vision for our basketball program,” Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said.
The 46-year-old McCasland replaces Mark Adams, who announced his resignation from his alma mater shortly after Texas Tech finished its season 16-16 with a loss in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament on March 8. Adams was suspended by the school from that game after making racially insensitive comments toward one of his players the previous week.
While Texas Tech’s inquiry determined that Adams’ comments were unintentional and an isolated incident, the coach said he stepped down because he and the university felt the incident had become a distraction for the program.
North Texas made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 seasons in 2021, and got its first program tournament win by upsetting Purdue as a No. 13 seed in a first-round game. The Mean Green led the nation in scoring defense the past two seasons, holding opponents to 55.7 points a game.
The Mean Green won three consecutive Conference USA titles from 2020-22, and were the runner-ups this year to Florida Atlantic, which is in the NCAA Final Four. North Texas clinched the NIT in its fourth game this year against conference foe UAB, which beat the Mean Green in the C-USA tournament semifinal game for its only win in the four. UNT won the 16-team CBI postseason tournament in 2018, McCasland's first season.
“He established a program that has won championships, reached new postseason heights, and brought many moments of excitement to Mean Green fans," UNT athletic director Jared Mosley said. "He and his family will be missed in Denton, but we are excited about the foundation that has been built and what is to come for UNT Basketball.”
Before North Texas, McCasland was 20-12 in his only season at Arkansas State, which followed his time on Baylor's staff.
McCasland was 27 when he got his first head coaching job in 2004, at Midland College in Texas, which he led to the 2007 junior college national championship. He went 56-12 at Midwestern State from 2009-11 with back-to-back NCAA Division II tournament regional final appearances.
“I am thrilled for Coach McCasland, his family and Texas Tech. He has worked tremendously hard throughout his career preparing for this moment, experiencing great success at every stop along the way," Drew said. "I have no doubt he will be an asset to our conference, Texas Tech and the West Texas region as a whole.”
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25