Neil Sullivan, Anthony Grant agree: Dayton is a ‘destination job’

Dayton’s AD says new coach is a proven winner

Credit: David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski/Staff

Dayton Athletic Director Neil Sullivan and new Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant look at the program the same way.

“We both look at it as a destination job,” Sullivan said Thursday, hours after UD announced the hiring of Grant.

Dayton’s last three coaches have used the program as a stepping stone, leaving for jobs at Clemson, Georgia Tech and Indiana. Grant, 50, played for Dayton from 1983-87, so he has more connection to the program than Oliver Purnell, Brian Gregory and Archie Miller. He’s also older than those three coaches were they were hired — Purnell was 40 in 1994, Gregory was 36 in 2003 and Miller was 32 in 2011 — and at a different point in his career.

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That doesn’t mean Grant will stay forever, but his hiring could bring long-term stability to the program.

“If you have high-caliber people, there’s a demand for that,” Sullivan said. “I think we acknowledge that. I’m never going to shy away from trying to attract the highest-quality performers we can. At the same time, you want to provide an environment where personal interest meets organizational need. I’m not trying to predict the future. At the end of the day, we’re certainly looking long term, but things change rapidly in this business. We were only interested in people who view the University of Dayton as a destination job.”

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Here are a couple other highlights from an interview with Sullivan:

• On the timing of the hiring, five days after Miller's departure: "We're in the business of students and student athletes, and students are close to their coach. I think while I appreciate and acknowledge the anxiety of the fans, I was really focused on the players and the recruits and the program moving forward. I think I said before that sooner was better than later. At the end of the day, decisions that are long-term decisions need the appropriate balance of time and patience. I think we struck that balance. Sometimes when you're in the heat of the battle, you have to maintain and resist the stress to make sure you're working constructively under pressure in response to change as opposed to being too reactionary. I was proud our search team was able to do that."

RELATED: Flyers to meet new coach Saturday

• On what he saw in Grant: "We saw a proven winner. We saw someone who's coached and played and recruited at nearly every level of basketball and has done it in a first-class manner. He has done it successfully with values. He has done it with a sense of purpose."

• On Grant's tenures at VCU and Alabama: "We dove into every season that he was a coach and even what his roles were in the NBA. At the end of the day, our collective judgment was that he absolutely had the skill set and the fit to lead the University of Dayton's men's basketball team."

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• Sullivan said he and Grant reached out to the returning players and the new recruits on Thursday and that Grant has started to work on putting a staff together.

• Sullivan would not get into the specifics of when he first talked to Grant this week.

• Sullivan would not list the specifics of Grant’s contract other than to say, “We’re not going to disclose the terms. He’s got a contract that pays him appropriately for his skill set.”

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