Toreros' Run Through March Ends vs. Western Kentucky
Bill Grier completed his seventh year as head coach of the USD men's basketball program in 2013-14. He directed the Toreros to an overall 18-17 record and into the third round of the CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament. The regular-season was highlighted by the team's 69-66 home win over No. 22 Gonzaga, and its 61-43 home win over Saint Mary's College. Junior guard Johnny Dee, who led the nation in free throw percentage (.945), was selected First Team All-West Coast Conference.
In 2012-13 he guided the Toreros to an overall record of 16-18 and 7-9 in the tough West Coast Conference. The season was highlighted by the Toreros beating the BYU Cougars twice, including in the quarterfinal of the WCC Basketball Championships. Sophomore guard Johnny Dee was recognized as All-WCC honorable mention, and freshman center Jito Kok was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team.
Last season he guided his youthful Toreros to a 13-18 record with the team playing its best basketball down the stretch. The Toreros won four of their final six 2011-12 regular-season WCC games, then reached the second round of the WCC Championships before dropping a hard-fought 73-68 decision to BYU. Freshman guard Johnny Dee was named to the All-WCC Freshman team and set a new USD scoring record for Torero freshmen with 426 points. Additionally, he was named a CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Freshman All-America.
The 2010-11 season was highlighted by the team's 74-66 home win over the 23rd-ranked Saint Mary's Gaels on February 16th. It marked Grier's fifth victory against a top-25 program over the past four seasons. The Toreros also collected a solid 67-64 neutral site win over the University of Utah in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
The 2009-10 season was highlighted by a home win over Stanford of the Pac-10, a quality road win at Boise State, and a second place finish in the Great Alaska Shootout. During the Shootout, the Toreros knocked off the #25 ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the first round, and then the Houston Cougars who went on to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Grier's 2009-10 campaign was highlighted with wins over Nevada, Oregon, Mississippi State and Pacific in the program's first-ever ESPNU BracketBuster's game.
In his first season (2007-08) at the helm of the Torero program, Grier led Torero basketball to heights never reached before. USD became the first San Diego Division I team to win an NCAA Tournament contest when it handed No. 4 seed Connecticut a 70-69 overtime loss on March 21st. Following a hard-fought 2nd round loss to Western Kentucky, USD closed out its season with an overall record of 22-14, including a 15-4 mark following the start of league. Following its 11-3 West Coast Conference finish, good for 3rd place, the Toreros won the WCC Tournament with wins over Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and No. 20 Gonzaga. In addition to its outstanding road win over the Kentucky Wildcats at historic Rupp Arena in late December, the Toreros combined to knock off three top-20 teams (Saint Mary's, Gonzaga and UConn).
Hired on March 26, 2007, Grier became USD's 11th head coach in program history and just the 4th coach since USD moved to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1979-80. Prior to his arrival at USD, Grier was at Gonzaga University for sixteen years, the last eight as top assistant to head coach Mark Few. He immediately went to work on putting his personal stamp on Torero basketball. After assembling an outstanding staff, and getting acquainted with USD's returning players, he went to work on recruiting and putting together arguably USD's toughest schedule ever.
"We were searching for a person with an overwhelming drive to succeed," said Ky Snyder, USD Executive Director of Athletics. "We found that and much more in Bill Grier. The people I talked with across the country, people who I greatly respect, had nothing but praise for Bill - a great person and family man, a teacher who is great at individual workouts, a tireless worker, demanding on the court but also with success in the classroom, a great recruiter, thorough in his approach, ready to become a head coach. It is with great pleasure that I am able to introduce the man that fits all of these descriptions as our new head men's basketball coach."
A highly motivated, detailed and results oriented basketball coach with excellent communication and teaching skills, Grier played an integral role in Gonzaga's arrival on the national scene. He began his career at Gonzaga in 1992 under head coach Dan Fitzgerald where he served as the restricted-earnings assistant for six years. He was elevated to a full-time assistant for the 1997-98 season when Dan Monson took over the head coaching reigns. During his two seasons under Monson, the Bulldogs went 52-17, won back-to-back WCC titles, went to the 1998 NIT Sweet Sixteen and made it to the 1999 NCAA Elite Eight.
In July, 1999, when Monson accepted the Minnesota job, Mark Few was made the head coach and Grier stayed where he was promoted to top assistant. Over the past eight years Gonzaga saw nothing but continued success with the teams compiling a 211-52 record over that span. During this time the Zags won the WCC regular-season title seven times; the WCC Tournament title seven times; advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including three trips to the Sweet Sixteen; and finished ranked in the top-10 of the final AP poll three times (2004-2006). Overall with Grier as an assistant coach, the Bulldogs have combined for an overall record of 381-126; won 11 regular-season WCC championships; won nine WCC Tournament titles (33-7 WCC tournament record); advanced to nine consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and ten overall, including four Sweet 16 appearances and the 1999 Elite Eight.
The last ten years Grier was the "defensive coordinator" for the Bulldogs, as well as being responsible for ten recruiting classes. He has developed the program into one known for its defense as much as it is for its offense. Since assuming the defensive role under former head coach Dan Monson, Gonzaga has led the WCC in field goal percentage defense six times, including the 3rd best mark in the nation in 2004. Responsible for the past ten recruiting classes, his 2007 class is the program¹s best yet, ranked 11th-best in the nation by the Rivals.com recruiting service. Four recruits in the 2007 class rank in the top-100 in their class.
He also successfully developed both post players (1997-2003) and perimeter players (2003-2007). Post players Bakari Hendrix (1998) and Casey Calvary (2001) were both WCC Players of the Year. Perimeter players he worked with included Derek Raivio (2007), the WCC Player of the Year; Adam Morrison (2006), a 1st team All-American and WCC Player of the Year; and Blake Stepp (2004), a 2nd team All-American and two-time WCC Player of the Year.
Grier started his coaching career at his alma mater, Cottage Grove High School in 1986. After serving two years as a freshman coach, Grier was elevated to junior varsity coach and varsity assistant. Grier left Cottage Grove to be the head coach at Creswell High School during the 1990-91 season. He played two years in junior college (Central Oregon and Southwestern Oregon), then transferred to Oregon where he received a B.S. degree in Leisure Studies and Services in 1990.
Bill and his wife, Nicole (Styles) were married in August of 1996. The couple have two daughters, Giselle and Ashley.
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