Dayton Flyers’ Anthony Grant wins Naismith Coach of the Year award

Third-year head coach led Flyers to 29 victories

Anthony Grant, of the Dayton Flyers, was named the Naismith College Coach of the Year on Thursday. It’s the latest national award for the third-year UD head coach who led the program to the best regular season in school history.

» ARCHDEACON: For Matos, hard to say goodbye

“I have to give credit to our players, to our coaches, our administration, everybody around our program,” Grant said in an interview on CBS Sports HQ. “Our fan base is outstanding.”

Grant, a 1987 UD graduate, also has been named the national coach of the year by the Associated Press, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the United States Basketball Writers Association and the Basketball Times.

One of Grant’s mentors, former Florida coach Billy Donovan, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, gave CBS Sports HQ a quote about Grant.

“His mentality has always been to invest in players, invest in coaches,” Donovan said. “He’s really an incredibly selfless guy. He’s grounded. He’s got the whole thing together. Incredibly unassuming. Not a networker. Not a self promoter. He was never out there lobbying for jobs.”

Dayton finished 29-2 in a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. It won the Atlantic 10 Conference championship, set a school record for victories, matched a school record with 20 straight victories to end the season and rose as high as No. 3, its highest ranking since the 1950s, in the Associated Press poll.

» ROSTER LOOK: Next year’s team a mix of returners, newcomers

Grant is the first A-10 coach to win the Naismith award since Saint Joseph’s Phil Martelli in 2004 and the first coach from an Ohio college to win since Ohio State’s Randy Ayers in 1991.

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley was named the Naismith coach of the year.

The winner of the Naismith Trophy for men’s and women’s player of the year will be announced at noon Friday. Dayton’s Obi Toppin is a finalist.

About the Author