September 30, 2023
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LUBBOCK — It won’t be long before Texas Tech fans see what Midland College men’s basketball fans saw when Grant McCasland coached on the floor of Chaparral Center from 2003-2009.

McCasland, 46, was introduced to Red Raider fans and university officials at United Supermarkets Arena as the 19th head coach in the program’s history on Monday.

He was destined to become a head coach at Texas Tech and maybe some would say, this should have happened long before last Friday’s official announcement from the university.

Not only does he have Texas ties as an Irving native but spent time as Tech’s Director of Basketball Operations under head coach James Dickey from 1999-2001. He met his wife, Cece, at Tech as she is a former soccer player on the Tech’s women’s program.

But more than those ties, McCasland has proven time and time again that he can flat out coach.

Even when he was still in his 20s and in his first head coaching job with the Chaparrals from 2004-2009, one could tell that he had the makings of a great coach. He was not only a disciplinarian who preached defending and rebounding as the keys to winning on the court, he could relate to players and found a way to get a lot out of them. He understands how to coach young players and treat them as men. He wouldn’t allow minor distractions or players’ quirks derail him from getting the best out of players and succeeding on the court.

Much of that has to do with his personality. He can be intense as a coach, but he cares about people and his players. And as history has shown, players and people genuinely care about him.

And succeed he did with Chaparrals. One year after taking over for Shanon Hays, McCasland guided MC to its second straight trip to the NJCAA National Tournament.

He guided the Chaps to three more trips to the national tournament, winning the whole thing in 2007 and finishing as the national runner-up in 2009 in a game that very well could have gone MC’s way.

He not only won at Midland College. He guided Midwestern State to back-to-back NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances, in one year he turned around an Arkansas State team into a 20-game winner, and he posted a 135-65 record with three Conference USA titles, a CBI championship and just last week an NIT title during his six years with the Mean Green.

While he may not be a flashy, big name that some fans might have craved and his teams are not flashy either, he gets results. In the end, isn’t it that what matters?

THE MC PIPELINES CONTINUES: With McCasland being hired at Texas Tech, it’s only fitting that his former North Texas assistant and former Midland College head coach Ross Hodge got promoted to be the next head coach at North Texas.

Hodge guided the Chaparrals for two years from 2009-11 and led them to a national runner-up finish in 2011.

Also on Monday, it was reported by Jeff Goodman, of Stadium, that Chris Mudge, a former MC assistant under both McCasland and Hodge, was promoted to be the head coach at Sam Houston State.

With Hodge and Mudge being promoted, that is now five Midland College coaches who are head coaches at the NCAA Division I level. Joining the three previously named are former Chaps assistant Bryan Hodgson, who recently got the job at Arkansas State, and former McCasland assistant Jeff Linder, who just finished his third season at Wyoming.

Follow Oscar on Twitter: @OLeRoy_MRT

Oscar LeRoy/ Midland Reporter-Telegram


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