Grisham leaves coaching to become full-time athletic director at Saint Martin's

Monday, March 18, 2003

Lacey, Wash. - After 16 seasons at the helm of Saint Martin’s College’s men’s basketball program, Bob Grisham will leave his position as coach to become the College’s first full-time athletic director. The college’s search for a new men’s basketball coach will begin immediately.

Bob Grisham“It’s very tough to leave coaching, but I’ve always known since I’ve been here that I would need to make this decision at some point,” Grisham said. “It became evident after the difficulty of this past season that it is no longer a realistic expectation to be successful as a coach and as an administrator, given the heavy time demands of both positions. The move will let me channel all my efforts to insuring the long-term success of the college’s programs.”

The decision to appoint a full-time athletic director was made for several reasons, said college President David R. Spangler.

“The number of intercollegiate sports programs has expanded from two to 11 since the 1980s, and reporting requirements to both NCAA Division II and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, of which Saint Martin’s is a member, have increased significantly,” Spangler said. “Saint Martin’s is the only school in the 10-school conference trying to meet such challenges with a part-time athletic director. “

Grisham began serving in the dual roles of basketball coach and athletic director with his arrival at Saint Martin’s in 1986. Since that time, he has overseen the tremendous growth of the college’s athletic program, including the return of men’s baseball after an absence of more than three decades and establishment of the college’s first women’s softball team. As the college’s enrollment continues to grow, the number of sports may well increase with it.

During Grisham’s coaching tenure at Saint Martin’s, his teams compiled 220 victories, the most in the college’s history. He coached 22 all-league players and six All-Americans, including two-time selection and league Most Valuable Player Michael Courtney.

Grisham was named conference Coach of the Year in 1991, and posted back-to-back 23-win seasons in 1991 and 1992. His 1998 squad advanced to the Division II West Regional Playoffs during the college’s first season at the NCAA level, following several years of affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Spangler said: “Bob arrived here with very little fanfare, took our program to new levels and leaves his coaching position with an exceptional record. I respect and support the decision to concentrate his energy on the administrative needs of our athletic department.”

Grisham says he hopes to name his successor quickly enough to give the new coach time to recruit. A search committee is being assembled.

“We’re going to look for someone who not only understands the unique challenges of college basketball at this level, but also knows the overall game,” he said. “More importantly, we need someone who knows the long-standing tradition Saint Martin’s College has in this community,” Grisham said. “It will be the beginning of a new era here, and I’m excited to be an integral part of it.”

For more information:
David R. Spangler

Deanna Partlow
Media relations coordinator
360-438-4541 or