Boyd Grant — the winningest coach in Fresno State basketball history — died Monday at the age of 86 after suffering a stroke over the weekend.
The Bulldogs basketball program saw a resurgence of success in 1977 when Grant took over at the helm. Fresno State went 7-20 the previous season but improved to 21-6 and won a Pacific Coach Athletic Association championship.
The success continued over Grant’s nine-year tenure, finishing off his career at Fresno State with a 194-74 record. In total, he led the Bulldogs to three PCAA regular season and conference championships, a National Invitational Championship victory in 1983 along with NCAA tournament appearances in 1981,1982 and 1984.
He was inducted into the Fresno State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
“I grew up watching Coach Grant’s teams and have always respected how hard and well his teams played,” said men’s basketball head coach Justin Hutson. “They lifted the Red Wave into a national prominence and let everyone know how loud and proud we are in the Valley. Our deepest condolences are with Coach Grant’s family, assistant coaches and players.”
One of his former players mourned his death on social media.
“I will be forever grateful for the lifetime opportunity to attend college and the start of the rest of my life,” said former Bulldog Jervis Cole. “Rest easy Coach Grant.”
His son, Kevin Grant, recounted his dad having a deep passion for the Fresno community.
“My dad had such a deep connection with the people of Fresno because of what this community embodies – honesty, hard-work and the ability to succeed from an underdog role,” said Kevin Grant. “He loved representing Fresno State and he was honored to represent the Valley.”
Prior to joining the Bulldogs, Grant had success at the junior college level. As head coach at the College of Southern Idaho, the team went 93-6 and in 1977 won the NJCAA national championship.
After departing from Fresno State, Grant went on to coach his alma mater Colorado State before retiring in 1991.