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Alabama men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant fired

Anthony Grant speaks to the media. (Photo via YouTube)
Anthony Grant speaks to the media. (Photo via YouTube)

Alabama will not be retaining head men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant, athletic director Bill Battle announced Sunday.

“This decision was reached only after a great deal of deliberation,” Battle said in a statement. “But I feel it is in the best interests of the basketball program to make a change in leadership. This has been a very difficult decision, as I have the highest respect for Anthony as a coach, as a molder of young men, and as a person.”

Grant had a record of 117-85 in his six seasons at Alabama, and made the NCAA tournament once in 2012 and the NIT twice in 2011 and 2013. Following the 2012 NCAA tournament bid, Grant signed a contract extension to stay in Tuscaloosa until 2019.

“In this business we are ultimately judged by wins and losses on the court and, for a variety of reasons, we haven’t made satisfactory progress in that area,” Battle said.

Alabama was eliminated from the SEC men’s basketball tournament by Florida on Thursday, and its hopes at an NIT bid were slim, though the team was selected.

It seemed that Grant’s position with the team was stable following the loss, even through the team’s 18-14 record this year. But this decision, this late in the season, must have been driven by the clamoring of those who wanted to take the program in a different direction, which Battle addressed in his statement.

“Today’s decision is part of a larger evaluation of every facet of our basketball program that is intended to improve every aspect of our basketball program,” Battle said. “A key component in that effort is to get all of our fans pulling in the same direction, and to make Coleman Coliseum the best home court advantage in the SEC.”

Battle said he will immediately begin a national search for the Crimson Tide’s next men’s basketball coach.

Alabama will play Illinois in the opening round of the NIT in Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday at 8 p.m. An interim coach for the team has not been announced.

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