June 15, 2007
In an effort to continue prosperous relations within the state of Washington and for continuity within the program, new Eastern Washington University men's basketball coach Kirk Earlywine announced Friday (June 15) that he is retaining Grant Leep as one of his assistant coaches.
The former University of Washington sharpshooter just completed his second season on the Eagle coaching staff after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Community Colleges of Spokane. Leep, 27, graduated from the UW with a political science degree in 2002, and spent one season as an assistant at North Seattle Community College before moving to Spokane.
Earlywine said current EWU players and others urged him to retain Leep. One of the strongest endorsements came from former Eastern head coach Ray Giacoletti, who was also a former assistant coach at the UW and is now an assistant at Gonzaga.
"It was very obvious to me in my interview on Tuesday how the players, the people that I met on campus, the people I talked to in this state and, specifically, coach Giacoletti feel about him," said Earlywine. "I'm anxious to get started to work with him. I spoke with him before the press conference to let him know that I intended to offer him the job, and he was excited - I think every bit as much as I am to have him. I think we can help each other, which is what you have to have with your staff."
Other additions to his staff are pending. Earlywine plans to remain in the area for about a week, then return to North Carolina to wrap up his previous position as an assistant at UNC Wilmington. Then, it's full speed ahead at EWU, including filling out his coaching staff and getting to know the state of Washington.
"Putting together a staff is like putting a puzzle together," he explained. "You've have to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. One thing I have not spent a great time of recruiting with is within the state of Washington. I obviously have seven years of recruiting Big Sky-caliber players, but not a ton of time in this state, so I will need to get busy. There will be a lot of hard work involved with getting to know the high school coaches in this state."
In the past two years, Leep has worked with post players, and has also helped with administrative duties including scouting and film exchange. He is also coordinating Eastern's high school team camp (June 26-29) and youth day camp (July 9-12).
Before coming to Eastern, the CCS Sasquatch were 40-22 in two seasons with Leep on the staff of head coach Eric Hughes, who was an assistant coach at Washington when Leep played there. Spokane finished 24-9 in the 2004-05 season en route to winning the Eastern Region title and placing fourth at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Tournament. In his first year at the school, the Sasquatch finished 16-13.
A four-year letterman for the Huskies (1999-02), Leep was a freshman on Washington's 1999 NCAA Tournament team. He was team captain as a senior in the 2001-02 season when he averaged 7.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as a starter at small forward. He led the Pac-10 Conference in three-point field goal percentage that season as he made a school-record 52.7 percent (39-of-74). He also holds the school record for career three-point shooting at 42.9 percent (60-of-140).
In his senior season, Leep was honored as winner of the Hec Edmundson Award (most inspirational) and the Wurster Award (top hustler). He also received recognition for Tyee Sports Council Community Service and 101 Club Scholar/Athlete Award.
Leep earned honorable mention All-America accolades while at Mount Vernon, Wash., High School, and three times was honored as an All-State selection. As a senior in the 1997-98 school year, he averaged 17.3 points per game to lead his team to a 25-2 record and a third-place finish at the State 3A Tournament. He scored 28 points and had 13 rebounds in the final game of his high school career in a 70-56 victory over Mercer Island.
Before joining the Huskies, he scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds for a group of all-stars from the state of Washington in a 68-67 loss to Oregon in the Northwest Shootout. As a junior, Mount Vernon finished 28-1 and lost to Mercer Island in the title game of the State 3A Tournament. He averaged 18.2 points and 8.5 rebounds that season, and 20.1 points and 9.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
Leep was born Sept. 30, 1979, in Bozeman, Mont. He is married to the former Allison Richardson, a standout volleyball player at Washington who now works as a sports reporter and anchor for KXLY TV in Spokane.