OFFICIAL: Gray named Head Basketball Coach at Coastal Carolina

Following-up on yesterday’s report – the hiring of Justin Gray at Coastal Carolina is now official. Here is the release from CCU announcing the move:

Justin Gray has been named the men’s basketball head coach at Coastal Carolina, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics and University Recreation Matt Hogue announced today. 

Gray will be formally introduced to the Teal Nation on Thursday, March 14, 2024, at 3:00 ET inside the HTC Center on the campus of Coastal Carolina. The introductory press conference will be carried live on ESPN+.

Gray joins the Chanticleers following a three-year run as the head coach at Western Carolina, where he led the Catamounts to the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals and the College Basketball Invitational in 2023.

“We are excited to welcome Justin Gray as our head men’s basketball coach,” said Hogue. “He is a talented basketball mind who has won at every level of the sport. He has strong connections to the region and is considered one of the finest young coaches in the sport. Justin has a clear vision for Chanticleer basketball and we are thrilled to welcome him and his family to Conway!”

“Coach Justin Gray’s record speaks for itself: he graduates players, he wins games and does things the right way, and he’s been involved in every community where he’s coached,” said CCU President Michael T. Benson. “We are very excited to welcome him and his family to Coastal Carolina University and look forward to the next chapter of CCU basketball.”

Gray rebuilt the Catamount program, winning 51 games and guiding Western Carolina to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 13 years. WCU won 40 games over Gray’s final two seasons in Cullowhee, going 21-15 (.583) in SoCon play. The Catamounts finished fourth in the conference in consecutive seasons, the first time Western Carolina had finished in the top-four of the SoCon in back-to-back years since 2010-11.

The 2022-23 Catamounts earned the school’s fourth postseason berth all-time – and the first since 2016 – as the squad played in the 2023 College Basketball Invitational 

Gray came to Western Carolina after two seasons on Pat Kelsey’s staff at Winthrop. With Gray on the staff, the Eagles won two Big South Tournament championships, posting a combined record of 47-12 and earning a No. 12 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

With Gray helping coordinate the offense, Winthrop led the Big South with a 78.9 point per game average with a league-best 15.0 assists per game and 8.4 made 3-pointers per contest. Gray helped develop DJ Burns, who earned Big South Freshman of the Year honors in 2019-20 and was named Big South Player of the Year in 2020-21.

Before joining the staff at Winthrop, Gray worked as the Director of Basketball Development at Wake Forest. 

A three-time All-ACC selection in his playing career at Wake Forest (2002-06), Gray left Winston-Salem as one of the program’s most prolific three-point shooters. He scored 1,946 career points over 120 career games for the Demon Deacons, finishing his career ranked eighth in program history in scoring while average 16.2 points per game.

In his sophomore season, Gray and eventual first-round NBA draft pick Chris Paul teamed up to become one of the best backcourts in the ACC as Gray averaged 17.0 points per game on his way to All-ACC First Team honors. In 2002-03, Gray played a role in helping the Demon Deacons to an ACC Regular Season Championship with a 13-3 league mark.

His collegiate career plaudits also include being named to the ACC All-Freshman team, as well as a three-time USBWA All-District Team and two-time NABC All-District Team selection.

During his 12-year professional career overseas, Gray played for various teams from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, China, Germany, France, Turkey, Lebanon, Bulgaria, Romania, and Belarus. He also had a couple of stints in the NBA Summer League. Gray won three Belarusian League Championships and three Belarusian Cup Championships. He also guided teams to a Czech Republic League and Cup championship as well as participating in the VTB United League All-Star Game in 2016.

Gray competed in the highest level of European competitions: Euroleague, EuroCup, and FIBA Europe Cup.

Originally from Charlotte, N.C., Gray played at West Charlotte High before concluding his prep career at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. He and his wife, Kate, have two sons – Justin, Jr. (JJ) and Kristian, and a daughter, Jhai.

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