DENTON, TX (UNT) - Grant McCasland has been hired as North Texas men's basketball head coach, Vice President and director of athletics Wren Baker announced Monday.
"I am excited to welcome Grant McCasland as our 18th head men's basketball coach," Baker said. "Coach McCasland is a rising superstar in college basketball and possesses all of the qualities we desired when we began our search. He has been successful at every step of his career. He's a proven coach and recruiter, but most importantly, he has demonstrated the ability to help young men grow and develop as people. We are fortunate to have a coach of his integrity and caliber leading our men's basketball program. He and his family are from the area and understand Texas values. They will be tremendous assets to this campus and community."
McCasland is an 18-year coaching veteran and arrives at North Texas after leading Arkansas State to a 20-win season for only the fourth time in ASU history. McCasland's career winning percentage is an eye-popping 80 percent. The 20-12 record during his inaugural season at ASU is a 10-win improvement, which is the second-best turnaround in NCAA Division I basketball this year. Under McCasland's guidance, the Red Wolves picked up eight non-conference wins over Division I opponents for the first time since 1990-91. McCasland has won 10 different coach of the year awards during his career.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to serve as the next head basketball coach at the University of North Texas," McCasland said. "I am honored by the confidence that both Vice President and director of athletics Wren Baker and President Neal Smatresk have demonstrated as we went through this process. Their commitment and vision for men's basketball at North Texas is inspiring and I look forward to working with them to build champions and prepare leaders with the young men we have in our program. We are going to strive daily for excellence in every aspect of our program, do things the right way, and establish a winning culture that values relationships throughout. Our family looks forward to joining Mean Green nation and I can't wait to get started in Denton."
Prior to Arkansas State, McCasland spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Baylor, helping lead the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The Bears also won their first-ever postseason title in program history in 2013, capturing the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship. Prior to Baylor, he spent two seasons as head coach at Midwestern State and led the program to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. McCasland also has head coaching experience at the junior college level, leading Midland College to the 2007 NJCAA national championship.
Working on head coach Scott Drew's staff at Baylor, McCasland helped the Bears average 26 wins per year, posting a 125-55 record, including a 10-3 postseason mark. The Irving, Texas, native helped Baylor rise to national prominence with five 20-win seasons, five postseason appearances, the Big 12's first NIT championship and Baylor's first postseason tournament title in its 107-year history.
Before his stint at Baylor, McCasland spent two seasons as head coach at Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, posting a combined 56-12 mark. In 2010-11, McCasland was named the Lone Star Conference South Division and National Association of Basketball Coaches South Region Coach of the Year after leading his Mustangs to a 25-9 mark, winning the NCAA Division II South Central Region title and reaching the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. The previous season saw Midwestern State earn the LSC South Division title, the LSC Tournament championship, the NCAA Division II South Central Region championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
Prior to his tenure at Midwestern State, McCasland spent five successful seasons as head coach at Midland College, taking the reins of the program prior to the 2004-05 campaign. In his first season, Midland captured the Region V championship and earned a trip to the NJCAA Elite Eight. In the 2006-07 season, the Chaparalls finished 29-8 and won the national championship. In his final season in Midland (2008-09), the Chaps finished 33-4 and lost in the national championship game. McCasland ended his time at Midland with a record of 143-32.
Preceding his time at Midland College, McCasland was assistant coach at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado, for two seasons. He began his coaching career in Lubbock, Texas, as the director of basketball operations at Texas Tech in the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons.
A three-year letterman and four-year player at Baylor, McCasland earned Academic All-Big 12 honorable-mention honors as a senior. He graduated from Baylor in 1999 with a degree in entrepreneurship and management and received his master's degree from Texas Tech in 2001.
Grant and his wife Cece have four children: daughters Amaris and Jersey and sons Jett and Beckett.
There will be a meet-and-greet next week on Tuesday, March 21st at noon in The Union as North Texas welcomes Coach McCasland and his family to campus. More details will be released in the coming days.
· Family: Wife Cece; daughters Amaris and Jersey; sons Jett and Beckett
· College: Baylor, 1999 (B.S.); Texas Tech, 2001 (M.S.)
· 1999-2001 Texas Tech, director of operations
· 2001-03 Northeastern JC, assistant coach
· 2004-09 Midland College, head coach
· 2009-11 Midwestern State, head coach
· 2011-16 Baylor, assistant coach
· 2016-17 Arkansas State, head coach
· 2017-pres. North Texas, head coach
· 2004-05 NJCAA, Elite Eight (Midland)
· 2006-07 NJCAA, national champions (Midland)
· 2008-09 NJCAA, finals (Midland)
· 2009-10 NCAA Division II, Elite Eight (Midwestern State)
· 2010-11 NCAA Division II, Elite Eight (Midwestern State)
· 2011-12 NCAA, Elite Eight (Baylor)
· 2012-13 NIT, champions (Baylor)
· 2013-14 NCAA, Sweet 16 (Baylor)
· 2014-15 NCAA, first round (Baylor)
· 2015-16 NCAA, first round (Baylor)
What they are saying:
James Dickey, former head coach at Texas Tech & University of Houston - "Wren and the University of North Texas have made a great hire in Grant MaCasland. Grant is a rising star in our profession and he has won at every level. Grant is a family man with high character. He has leadership, energy, enthusiasm, tireless work ethic and is a very productive recruiter. Grant will be a tremendous basketball coach and ambassador for UNT."
Dennis Lindsey, GM for the Utah Jazz - "The University of North Texas has just hired a rising star in the coaching business in Grant McCasland. Grant has deep contacts in the southwest, and with him being a native son to Texas, has the relationships you need to be successful long-term at the University of North Texas. More importantly, Grant is a faith and values based man who will be able to lead his staff and players in the right direction. My son was recruited by and played for Grant when he was an assistant coach at Baylor University. Neither Jake or I am surprised at Grant's success or new appointment. The Lindsey family wishes Grant and the University of North Texas men's basketball program the best of luck!"
John Underwood, Big 12 Associate Commissioner - "Grant McCasland has been successful at every level he has coached and will be a terrific ambassador for the University of North Texas, the basketball program and the city of Denton. He has a tremendous work ethic, which will translate into a winning program in a short period of time."