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COLUMN: Extending Grant McCasland’s contract is a wise move by the university

COLUMN: Extending Grant McCasland’s contract is a wise move by the university

COLUMN: Extending Grant McCasland’s contract is a wise move by the university
December 04
10:59 2020

The recent approval of North Texas men’s basketball head coach Grant McCasland’s contract extension by the Board of Regents is a great investment to put into the program and potentially the university. The new contract extension will expand to April 2026 and the deal is expected to be finalized within weeks, according to a school source reported by the Denton Record-Chronicle.

McCasland has the winning experience, been around a winning culture and standard resulting in the upward direction of the program after winning the regular-season Conference USA title last season.

Men’s college basketball and football are the two main sports that people pay most attention to, and when a school has a solid program in either sport it puts the school on the map for further exposure. North Texas had a good chance at an NCAA tournament bid in March before the season was called off.

When young people see schools compete at a high level and have success in either football or basketball it draws them into wanting to attend that university. For example, the University of Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State are schools with successful sports programs that make high schoolers want to go to that school and watch a game any time they can. More students mean more money and activities, so everyone ends up happy.

To have a great college basketball program, it all starts with great coaching. Great coaching comes from being a part of winning programs and having a consistent set of high standards.

Since former Mean Green head coach Johnny Jones retired after the 2011-12 season, North Texas needed a head coach with winning experience at the collegiate level. Throughout his career, McCasland has experience in producing winning programs as a head coach at Midland College, Midwestern State and Arkansas State. As an assistant coach at Baylor, he served as an assistant under Bears head coach Scott Drew. Drew made Baylor of the top dogs of the Big 12 conference in contending for a conference championship with Kansas.

North Texas has three straight 20-win seasons for the first time since the 2006-07 and 2010-11 seasons when Jones was the head coach tallying five straight 20-win seasons. In each of the three previous seasons, North Texas outperformed the Conference USA coaches’ preseason predictions.

At the moment North Texas is not competing for a national championship or playing as a top-ranked team, but they are incrementally getting better each year and they are in the discussion as one of the top tier C-USA schools. If North Texas men’s basketball continues at the pace they’re going, they might be the consistent team appearing in the NCAA tournament.

Between 2012 and 2016, North Texas finished either toward the middle or in the lower portion of the conference each year never making it above .500 in conference play. Seeing a quick turnaround in the last three seasons is a good first step to becoming a perennial powerhouse.

As someone who has attended North Texas men’s games since 2013, the attitude has changed about the program and the Mean Green is taken much more seriously now than before. Students and fans know the Mean Green will compete and perform at a high level. When fans feel confident about their team, they pack the stadium which can only benefit the home team and increase the odds of winning.

North Texas men’s basketball produced a great mix of current and former players paving the way in the previous three years including Ryan Woolridge, Javion Hamlet, Zachary Simmons, Umoja Gibson and others. For the 2020 signing class, McCasland signed the No. 1 group among C-USA teams. Give McCasland more time and who knows what kind of talent may roam through the Super Pit.

For the next six seasons, the North Texas Board of Regents made the right move by extending McCasland’s contract to push for continuity and growth within the men’s basketball program and the future of the school. In that time the Mean Green may become one of the best non-Power 5 men’s basketball schools and it will be the place you ought to be!

Featured Image: Head coach Grant McCasland cuts down the net after the Mean Green win their first conference title since 1989 on March 1, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Preston Rios

Preston Rios

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