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Saturday, March 24, 2007
Updated: March 26, 8:43 PM ET
San Diego names Zags assistant Grier head coach

ESPN.com news services

The University of San Diego wants to challenge Gonzaga for West Coast Conference supremacy, so it went and grabbed the Bulldogs' associate head coach.

Grier was introduced as USD's head coach Monday, taking over 2½ weeks after Brad Holland was fired following a 13-season run at the West Coast Conference school.

"The thing about Gonzaga, and some people think that there is a magic recipe, but that program took a lot of time and hard work, and didn't evolve overnight," said Grier, who was on Gonzaga's staff for 16 years. "I see a lot of potential in this program here, with the things that you have to sell, including the city, the campus and the arena."

It's the first college head coaching job for Grier, 43.

"Bill Grier may not be a household name to everybody, but in basketball circles he is known as a great recruiter, a great person, someone who is a great teacher of the game," athletic director Ky Snyder said. "He is very demanding of what he wants. And I've heard from many people across the country, including Mark Few, that he may have the most responsibilities of any No. 1 assistant in the country."

Grier replaces Holland, who was ousted after the Toreros' 18-14 season (6-8 in the WCC). Holland coached USD for 13 years, beating the Zags in 2003 for the WCC tournament title and an NCAA berth.

Grier's decision to leave Gonzaga for a conference rival comes at an interesting time. Grier has a clause in his contract that makes him the successor to Bulldogs head coach Mark Few if Few leaves the school. Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth put that clause into Grier's deal in an attempt to keep him at the school. Few is a likely candidate for the vacancy at Kentucky, although there is no guarantee that he'll leave if he is offered the job.

Meanwhile, multiple sources said Few will replace Grier with former Utah coach Ray Giacoletti, a good friend of both Few's and Grier's who spent plenty of time with the two when he was head coach at nearby Eastern Washington.

ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and information from The Associated Press was used in this report.