This one has been making the rounds for weeks. Fresh off his NIT Championship last night, Texas Tech has finally announced UNT’s Grant McCasland as their new head men’s basketball coach. Here’s the press release from the school:
A proven winner who began his career as the Texas Tech men’s basketball Director of Operations from 1999-2001, Grant McCasland is returning to Lubbock as the 19th head coach in Red Raider history after stacking success at various levels for nearly 25 years. Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt announced the hiring on Friday along with a six-year contract.
McCasland will be formally introduced at a welcoming ceremony which is open to the public at 4 p.m. on Monday at the United Supermarkets Arena.
“I want to thank President Lawrence Schovanec and Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt, and the committee for the opportunity to coach at Texas Tech,” McCasland said. “The commitment and vision for Texas Tech has no limits and we look forward to loving our team everyday with a greater purpose. We will strive daily for excellence in every aspect of our program, do things the right way, winning championships that values relationships throughout. Our family looks forward to joining the Red Raider nation and can’t wait to get started in Lubbock.”
Most recently at the University of North Texas for six seasons, McCasland is 211-89 as a head coach after leading the Mean Green to a 31-7 record this season and the National Invitation Tournament Championship. His teams have led the nation in scoring defense the past two seasons after limiting opponents to just 55.7 points per game in both seasons. UNT held 27 of its 38 opponents under 60 points this season.
“We’re excited to welcome in the next era of Red Raider Basketball under the leadership of Coach McCasland,” Hocutt said. “This position received tremendous interest nationally as we firmly believe this program is one of the best jobs in college basketball. Our search committee was immediately impressed not only by Coach McCasland and his ability to win at every level of college basketball, all while creating a positive culture built upon toughness, but also his passion for Texas Tech and his vision for our basketball program. We are pleased to welcome Coach McCasland, his wife, Cece, and their entire family back home to Texas Tech.”
McCasland started his coaching career as the Texas Tech Director of Operations for two seasons under head coach James Dickey and took his first head coaching job at Midland College where he would win a NJCAA National Championship in 2007. The Red Raiders will be the 46-year-old McCasland’s fifth head coaching job in a journey back to Texas Tech which includes leading Midland College from 2004-09, two years as the head coach at Midwestern State (2009-11), five seasons as an assistant coach at Baylor (2011-16), and one as the head coach at Arkansas State (2016-17) before amassing an impressive 135-65 (.675) record at UNT.
Texas Tech has advanced to four of the past five NCAA Tournaments, including reaching the 2018 Elite 8, 2019 NCAA Championship Final, 2021 NCAA Tournament Second Round and 2022 Sweet 16. The Red Raiders have a 117-22 home record over the past eight seasons and are coming off a year where the program averaged 13,222 fans per game which ranked No. 1 throughout the state of Texas, third in the Big 12 and 21st nationally.
An Irving, Texas native, McCasland is a Baylor graduate who played for the Bears from 1995-99 as a walk-on. He earned Academic All-Big 12 honorable-mention honors as a senior and graduated from Baylor in 1999 with a degree in entrepreneurship and management before getting his master’s from Texas Tech in 2001.
At North Texas, McCasland led the Mean Green to three straight Conference USA titles (2020, 2021, 2022), their first NCAA Tournament victory, first NIT victories, most single-season victories, and most single-season league victories in program history among other achievements. Along with leading the nation by limiting teams to only 55.7 points per game, UNT ranked seventh nationally by holding opponents to 39.2 percent shooting.
During his final season in Denton, McCasland led UNT to a program-record 31 wins after winning the 2023 NIT Championship with a 68-61 victory over UAB in Las Vegas. The Mean Green were second in the C-USA standings with a 16-4 conference record and a 14-2 record on their home court. The program advanced to the NIT Finals with wins over Alcorn State, Sam Houston, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin to set up its matchup against UAB. The Mean Green earned the postseason championship by jumping out to a 37-27 halftime lead and limiting UAB to only 35.6 shooting throughout the night – capping the season with another dominant defensive performance. The Mean Green reached the NIT finals with a 56-54 win over Wisconsin in the semifinals by holding the Badgers scoreless over the final nine minutes of play and to only 13 second-half points. UNT trailed 41-29 at halftime before locking down on defense and limiting Wisconsin to only 24.0 percent shooting in the second half with its final basket coming with 9:07 still on the clock.
McCasland was named the 2020 C-USA Coach of the Year and has recruited and led UNT men’s basketball student-athletes to 19 all-league honors, including two Conference USA Player of the Year selections in Javion Hamlet (2020) and Tylor Perry (2023). The Mean Green won the C-USA regular-season championship in 2020 and 2022 along with winning the C-USA Tournament in 2021. He led UNT to a 12-3 record in postseason games with the program having never won a postseason game before his arrival.
Under McCasland, UNT won its first NCAA Tournament game in program-history with a 78-69 overtime victory over Purdue on March 19, 2021. It was the program’s fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament and its first since 2010. They earned their highest ever seeding in a NCAA Tournament with a No. 13 seed and their victory over the No. 20-ranked Boilermakers was their first AP Top 25 win since 1972. They earned the bid into the NCAA Tournament after securing the 2021 C-USA Tournament championship. The Mean Green won four games in four days to win their first league tournament title in 11 years and their first since joining C-USA.
In 2021-22, North Texas had established the previous program record for wins after a 25-7 season. UNT won the 2022 C-USA West Division title with a 16-2 record. From Jan. 8-March 3, UNT won a program record 15 straight games in route to the 2022 C-USA Division title. The team led the nation during the season in scoring defense after holding opponents to an average of 55.7 points per game, which was also a Conference USA record. McCasland led UNT to a 20-18 record in his first season (2017-18) in Denton. The 20 wins in his first season were 12 more than the previous year for the Mean Green. That season, UNT set the school record for most points scored in a season (2,828) and most 3-pointers made in a season (302).
McCasland was the head coach at Arkansas State during the 2016-17 season where he led ASU to a 20-12 overall record before taking the UNT job. At ASU, McCasland led the program to a 10-win improvement, which was the second-best turnaround in Division I basketball that season. Prior to Arkansas State, McCasland was the head coach at Midwestern State from 2009-11 where he owned a 56-12 (.823) career record and led MSU to back-to-back NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances.
Prior to Arkansas State, McCasland spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Baylor under head coach Scott Drew. The Bears made 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.
At Midwestern State, he led the Mustangs to a 31-3 record in 2009-10 and a 25-9 mark the next season. Both seasons resulted in Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. McCasland started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado, before he was named the head coach at Midland College when he was only 27 years old. His Chaparrals won the 2007 NJCAA National Championship and saw six players earn a DI scholarship. He would also lead the program to the 2009 NJCAA finals before taking the position at Midwestern State and continuing his ascent in collegiate coaching.
While at Tech, McCasland met his wife Cece (Dillon), who was a former soccer player for the Red Raiders. Grant and Cece have four children: daughters Amaris and Jersey and sons Jett and Beckett.
COACHING EXPERIENCE (23 seasons)
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
2017-23: North Texas, head coach
HEAD COACHING RECORDS (211-89 overall, 155-77 DI)
2009-10: Midwestern State; 31-3, 10-2 LSC
2010-11: Midwestern State; 25-9, 9-5 LSC
2016-17: Arkansas State; 20-12, 11-7 SBC
2017-18: North Texas; 20-18, 8-10 C-USA
2018-19: North Texas; 21-12, 8-10 C-USA
2019-20: North Texas; 20-11, 14-4 C-USA
2020-21: North Texas; 18-10, 9-5 C-USA
2021-22: North Texas; 25-7, 16-2 C-USA
2022-23: North Texas; 31-7, 16-4 C-USA
Hometown: Irving, Texas
Family: Wife, Cece; daughters, Amaris and Jersey; sons, Jett and Beckett
Irving High, 1994; Baylor, 1999 (B.S.); Texas Tech, 2001 (M.S.)
McCASLAND CAREER ACCOLADES INCLUDE
- 211 career wins with a 70.3 career win percentage
- Coached the nation’s leading scoring defense the past two seasons (55.7 ppg. both seasons)
- 2023 NIT Champion
- 2020 C-USA Coach of the Year
- Three straight C-USA championship titles
- C-USA Tournament Champion in 2021
- Two-time C-USA regular-season champion (2020, 2022)
- Led UNT to win over Purdue in 2021 NCAA Tournament; First NCAA Tournament win in UNT history
- Has coached eight teams to 20+plus win seasons
- Tech is fifth head coaching position; Returns to Lubbock after starting career at Tech
- Worked under head coach James Dickey for two seasons at Tech
- Assistant coach at Baylor under head coach Scott Drew
- Took first head coaching job at Midland College when he was 27-years-old
- Led Midland College to the 2007 NJCAA National Championship
- In first season at Arkansas State led a 10-win improvement from previous season
- In first season at UNT led a 12-win improvement from previous season
- Played at Baylor from 1995-99 under head coach Harry Miller
- Earned Academic All-Big 12 honorable mention as a senior