New Tech coach McCasland felt right at home visiting Midland


Grant McCasland felt it was a reunion of his days of roaming at Chaparral Center.

The one-time Midland College coach was back in Midland as Texas Tech’s new men’s basketball coach Thursday as he joined head football coach Joey McGuire and Tech Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt at the Bush Convention Center for the Red’s final stop Raider Club Wreck ‘Em Tour.

McCasland still has many friends from his time at MC from 2003-2009 as first an assistant coach under Shanon Hays and then five years as head coach, which included leading the Chaparrals to the 2007 NJCAA national title and a national runner-up finish finish in 2009.

“It was nice, honestly,” McCasland said of being back in Midland. β€œIt’s remarkable how much the area has changed, but the heart behind it and the people, the moment you come here, that comes to mind. Man, it’s good to be back.”

McCasland has been on a whirlwind ever since his hire was announced by Tech on March 31. One night, he coached North Texas to a National Invitational Tournament title in Las Vegas, and the next day he flew to Lubbock to prepare for his induction to Red Raider nation.

“It’s been really hectic, but in a good way,” he said. “You wake up in the morning with a list of things to do, but that list usually goes out the window within the first hour because there are many things that need your attention. First and foremost, try to make sure that we have a good staff and put together a good roster for the season. That has taken its turns in very positive ways. I love the guys we have back and really excited about the new guys we’ve signed.

While the roster is incomplete with three spots open, McCasland and his staff have added three players to the transfer window in 7-foot Warren Washington from Arizona State, 6-3 guard Chance McMillian from Grand Canyon and 6-6 forward Darrion Williams from Nevada . McCasland said that he not only thinks those players will fit what they want to do in Lubbock, but they know how to win.

“I think the expectation is that we’re going to improve the program and win early,” he said. “And in order to do that, you have to find guys with experience, but not just experience playing college basketball, but guys who have played in the NCAA tournament.”

Even though his name had been floating around as a possible coach at Tech for a few years because of his past ties and success, he said he never really thought about it until it finally became a reality.

“I have good friends and so much respect for all the coaches that have been here, obviously Coach (James) Dickey, Coach (Bob) Knight, Coach (Tubby) Smith. There have been so many great coaches and of course Coach (Chris ) Beard and Coach (Mark) Adams, two of the most recent,” he said. “I just hope for their success, honestly. You don’t know why jobs open up and I always felt like the only one that mattered was the one I had at the time, so how do we do that best. I have never really tried to anticipate any of it, especially Texas Tech. Even though it was close to our hearts as far as people, I just loved the people that were there, like Coach Adams. I never thought, hey maybe this is an option. Now that it is, I’m very humbled and grateful.”

McGuire excited about

team’s potential

McGuire is always enthusiastic about everything he does.

But even he should have a little bounce in his step when he thinks about the potential of next season’s football team, with the majority of starters returning from an 8-5 team that beat Ole Miss, 42-25 in the Texas Bowl won.

“Probably my favorite word is opportunity because we have a chance to be really good,” he said, before speaking to Red Raiders fans on Thursday. “The other part is expectations, because usually you mean that you have done something the year before and you feel that you are growing. The thing that I will talk about tonight, but also talk about with our players when we have our first team meeting is, here are the expectations, but that does not mean that we will be successful. We have to put in the work. But I’d rather people expect us to be good than people saying, well, I don’t know if they’re going to be good or something.

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