Grant Leep, who served seven seasons as an assistant at Seattle Pacific University, has been appointed as the school’s head men’s basketball coach, Athletic Director Tom Box announced Monday.
Leep, 36, has strong basketball connections throughout the Northwest. He was an All-America player at Mount Vernon (Wash.) High School before lettering four years at the University of Washington. His coaching resumé includes stops at Eastern Washington University and a pair of community colleges.
“It was an honor offering Grant the position because he is ready to be a head coach and displays the personal character that Seattle Pacific values so highly,” Box said. “Grant Leep will continue the long tradition of successful Falcons coaches. SPU’s winning ways will be in good hands.”
On May 3, Leep was named SPU’s interim head coach to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Ryan Looney, who left after seven years to assume the head coaching role at Point Loma Nazarene University. That “interim” tag was removed Monday.
“Today, I am very blessed to accept the position of head men’s basketball coach at Seattle Pacific University,” Leep said. “Thanks to University President, Dr. Dan Martin, Vice President for Student Life Jeff Jordan and Interim Athletic Director Tom Box for their confidence in naming me to this position, and for their honesty through the process.
“We have a special group of young men here at SPU and I welcome the opportunity to serve them and guide them in this new role.”
Leep becomes the 12th head coach in the 72-year history of the storied program that owns the longest active playoff streak among NCAA Division II men’s basketball programs. SPU’s run of 12 consecutive playoff berths stretches back to 2005.
As the top assistant coach during Looney’s entire tenure, Leep helped lead the Falcons to postseason appearances each year while constructing a streak of seven straight 20-win campaigns that is a school record.
The Falcons compiled a 164-51 (.763) record during Leep’s time as an assistant coach. Two teams (2012, 2013) advanced to the West Regional championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Seattle Pacific twice won conference regular-season championships, in 2010 and 2014, and captured the GNAC Tournament title three consecutive years, from 2013-15.
“We are very pleased with Grant Leep taking over the leadership of the men’s basketball program,” said Jordan, who oversees the athletic department.
“Grant has great experience as a player and coach in the Northwest. He has built great connections with our players and the community. We anticipate continued success with our student-athletes and with Falcon basketball.”
Prior to joining the SPU staff on June 23, 2009, Leep served the previous four years as an assistant coach at Eastern Washington. His final two seasons were under Coach Kirk Earlywine after working for Mike Burns the previous two years.
The Eagles posted a 53-66 record during Leep’s four years. During the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he helped develop Rodney Stuckey, who is now a member of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
Leep joined the Eastern Washington staff prior to the 2005-06 season after spending two years as an assistant coach at Spokane Community College under former UW assistant coach Eric Hughes. The Sasquatch had a 40-22 record in two seasons with Leep on the staff.
Spokane finished 24-9 in the 2005 season en route to winning the Eastern Region title and placing fourth at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Tournament. In his first year at the school, the Sasquatch finished 16-13.
Leep began his coaching career in 2002-03 with a one-year stint as an assistant at North Seattle Community College, working under Coach Billy Rodgers.
A 2002 Washington graduate in political science, Leep lettered four years for the Huskies from 1999-2002. He captained the team as a senior in 2002 and averaged 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a starting forward.
Leep led all Pacific-10 Conference players in 3-point field goal percentage that season, converting a school-record 52.7 percent (39-of-74) of his attempts. Leep also holds the UW record for career 3-point shooting at 42.9 percent (60-of-140).
Following his senior season, Leep was honored with numerous team awards. He received the Hec Edmundson Award (most inspirational) and the Wurster Award (top hustler). He also received recognition for Tyee Sports Council Community Service and the 101 Club Scholar/Athlete Award.
Leep garnered honorable mention prep All-America accolades while at Mount Vernon (Wash.) High School and three times was honored as an all-state selection.
As a senior in the 1998, he averaged 17.3 points per game to lead the Bulldogs to a 25-2 record and a third-place finish at the state Class 3A tournament. In 1997, Mount Vernon finished 28-1 and lost to Mercer Island in the championship game of the state tournament. He averaged 18.2 points and 8.5 rebounds that junior season, and 20.1 points and 9.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
Leep is married to the former Allison Richardson, a volleyball standout at Washington. They have two young daughters, Avery and Harper.
“I want to thank my wife, Allison, for being my biggest supporter,” said Leep. “There are so many more people to thank, but I want to make special mention of two men who have made a great impact on my life that I won’t be able to thank in person. I know that my father, David Leep, and my father-in-law, Frederick Richardson, are celebrating from Heaven.”
Leep assumes control of the program immediately and will now begin assembling a coaching staff.
The Falcons have some rebuilding to do, as all five primary starters were seniors from the 2015-16 squad that posted a 22-9 record. Five players return with some starting experience, but only one was in the opening lineup for more than four games last season.
Photo Courtesy SPU Athletics