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Local Sports

Familiar face takes over C-M boys' hoops program

Phil Grant
Phil Grant

Phil Grant has had a front-row seat to Colfax-Mingo basketball games the past few seasons.

Grant has served as the official scorekeeper for home games and knows exactly the type of players he will get to work with.

After leading the C-M boys junior high program for the past three years, Grant takes over the high school team moving forward.

Grant replaces Mark Rague, who was the head varsity coach the past two years.

"I've already had the opportunity to coach all of the boys in basketball with the exception of our senior class," Grant said. "Having already coached many of these young men in the past really made me excited about the chance to coach them again at a higher level."

Grant mentioned stability as one of the reasons he wanted to take over the program.

Since long-time head coach John Borts stepped away at the end of the 2015-16 season, the Tigerhawks have had two head coaches in four years.

"We've been a part of the Colfax-Mingo community for eight years now, and as a family, we know this is our home and where our kids are going to graduate from high school," Grant said.

Stability also is part of the reason Colfax-Mingo Activities Director Erin Hume liked Grant for the role.

"We believe in Phil. He knows basketball. He knows the kids," Hume said. "He also brings something we've been missing and that's stability. Our seniors will be on their third coach and we found someone who we believe will start to build a great program from youth to high school."

Grant and his wife Michelle are prominent coaching figures in the Colfax-Mingo community.

Michelle Grant is the head volleyball coach and also serves as the junior high softball coach. She used to lead the girls' varsity basketball program, too.

Phil Grant has been an assistant boys track and field coach for four years and begins his fourth season as an assistant football coach next month.

"Those various experiences and references from other great coaches in our district helped to ensure Phil was the right choice moving forward," Hume said.

Grant is excited to be taking over a program he has been a fan of from afar the past few years and working with a group of athletes he coached at the junior high level.

"The opportunity to keep working with the young men I've already coached is very exciting for me, and I'm ready to get to work with them on a higher level," Grant said. "I've made it a point of emphasis in the past seasons with the junior high athletes that each athlete's unique skill set has a place on the team."

Grant will push defense first and there's a place on his team if an athlete is coachable and ready to give their best effort at all times.

"Solid defensive play comes down to two big principles in my book — attitude and effort," Grant said. "I don't need everyone on the team to be at the same level when it comes to how they shoot a basketball, but I do need every athlete to give their best effort every time they step on the court.

"If there's an athlete still developing their confidence in shooting the ball, but they're a great rebounder and a lock-down defender, then I can guarantee that player is going to be very successful on my team."

Grant played basketball and golf and ran track in high school at Iowa Valley. That's also where he met his wife Michelle, who was one grade ahead of him in school.

He graduated from Buena Vista University in 2006.

Since joining the South Iowa Cedar League, the Tigerhawks are 56-54. They have had three winning seasons in the past five and are coming off a 14-8 campaign.

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