Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley and Director of Athletics Bill Smith announced the hiring of Jared Grasso as the next head coach of the Bulldog men’s basketball program at a press conference Monday morning at the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology.
Grasso becomes the eighth men’s basketball coach in Bryant University’s history, bringing 16 years of experience in Division I coaching in the Northeast to Smithfield.
“I am excited to announce Jared Grasso as the next head coach of our men’s basketball team,” Smith said. “Jared’s resume and contagious passion for basketball elevated him to the top of the list. We wanted a coach with a proven track record of cutting down nets and playing in March Madness and Jared and Iona have won their tournament and gone dancing in March five out of the last eight years. He’s proven to be a high-level recruiter and has enjoyed great success at every place he’s coached. I feel that Jared will give our program an energy boost and I’m so excited to have him on our sideline.”
“We are delighted to have Jared and his family join the Bryant University community,” Machtley said. “Jared has an incredible record of commitment to recruiting exceptional athletes who can compete on the floor and in the classroom. He develops a relationship with each student-athlete to help make them the best that they can be throughout their educational/athletic experience, which is why he has had such a very high retention rate of recruited athletes. I am excited for his tenure as coach to begin. Energetic and smart, I am certain he will build our Bryant basketball program into a tradition of winning our league and competing at the NCAA level.”
Grasso was tabbed to lead the Bryant program after most recently working for the last eight seasons at Iona, where he helped the Gaels to unparalleled success both at Iona and in the MAAC.
Iona posted a record of 182-92 (.664) and a mark of 112-40 (.737) in the MAAC from 2010-18, as the Gaels staff led by Tim Cluess became the fastest to 100 MAAC wins in conference history. The Gaels made five NCAA Tournament appearances (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018) in Grasso’s eight years in New Rochelle, with the 2011-12 Iona team being one of just two in MAAC history to earn an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels won three MAAC regular-season championships (2012, 2014, 2015) during Grasso’s tenure, with the 2014 and 2015 iterations of the Gaels qualifying for the NIT.
The Gaels battled to win the MAAC Tournament Championship in each of the last three seasons, making Iona one of three programs from a mid-major conference to qualify for three straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2016-18. Iona advanced to the MAAC Championship Final seven times in Grasso’s eight years at Iona, including a conference-record six straight appearances from 2013-2018.
As Iona’s recruiting coordinator, Grasso has been instrumental in the recruiting and coaching of a group that includes 11 MAAC first-team all-conference selections, three MAAC Player of the Year honorees and one MAAC Rookie of the Year during his eight seasons with the Gaels. Iona has seen 22 players play professionally over the last seven seasons between the NBA, NBA G-League and international opportunities. The Gaels are the only NCAA Division I program to send a player to the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for five straight seasons.
“My family and I could not be more honored and humbled for this opportunity to join the Bryant University community,” Grasso said. “President Machtley and Bill Smith are tremendous leaders and our visions for this program clicked immediately. I can’t wait to get to work with these student-athletes and help build a championship program. The future of Bulldog men’s basketball is very bright.”
Prior to Iona, Grasso spent four seasons on the staff at Fordham, including the majority of the final year as interim head coach. Grasso was the lead recruiter in the Rams’ 2009 recruiting class which was ranked in the top 25 nationally by Scout.com. In 2006-07, Grasso helped guide Fordham to its winningest season in 15 years.
Grasso spent the 2005-06 season at his alma mater, Quinnipiac, where he recruited a pair of first-team All-NEC selections who would go on to be 1,000-point scorers in Hamden. Prior to Quinnipiac, Grasso worked two seasons on the staff at Hartford, where he recruited a first-team All-America East honoree. Grasso began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Hofstra in the 2002-03 season.
A four-year starter and two-year captain at Quinnipiac as a guard, Grasso currently ranks 22nd on the Bobcats’ all-time scoring list with 1,134 career points. He is fifth on the all-time list in assists with 404 and ranks fourth all-time in three-point field goals with 216. He graduated from Quinnipiac with a degree in mass communications in May 2002 and was elected to the Quinnipiac Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
A native of Syosset, New York, Grasso attended St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, New York, from 1994-98. He earned honorable mention All-American honors as a senior at St. Anthony’s after averaging 23 points, seven rebounds and eight assists per game. He, his wife Andrea and one-year old son currently reside on Long Island.