By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, JULY 14, 2014 – Porche Grant helped USF win a Women’s National Invitational Tournament title at the end of the 2008-09 season and the former center’s basketball career is still going strong as a coach.
Grant is in her second season as director of women’s basketball operations at Coastal Carolina University after spending three years overseas playing professionally in Spain, Greece, Slovakia and Sweden. Grant oversees all aspects of Coast Carolina’s basketball program and some of her many duties include building and handling the annual budget, supervising office personnel and team managers, coordinating team travel and laying out the team’s practice schedule on top of being the program’s summer camp director.
“I love it. I naturally like to teach and I love helping out young women,” Grant said. “I like to help them perfect their skills and empower themselves.”
Grant graduated from USF in 2011with a bachelor of art’s degree in interpersonal and organizational communications after completing a successful playing career with the Bulls from 2006-09 and 2010-11. The former Big East Academic All-Star Team member is tied for fifth in USF’s history books in rebounding average (8.0), while she ranks in a tie for sixth in games played (120) and 14th in career rebounds (549).
As a junior, Grant led the team with 7.7 rebounds per game and she grabbed a game-high 10 boards in the Bulls’ WNIT championship win at Kansas.
“That had to be one of the greatest moments after the game. Coach Jose (Fernandez) was so happy,” Grant said. “I still wear my ring around my neck.”
Grant and Fernandez developed a close bond during their time together at USF and the connection has remained strong to this day.
“The moment I met Jose and the moment I stepped into Tampa for the first time I knew I was coming to USF,” Grant said. “I’ve known Jose’s number by heart since I was 18 years old. I can call him if I need anything, especially advice.”
Grant’s production at USF helped her gain pro attention overseas and that’s when she developed a love for Europe.
“Playing overseas is great and I actually miss playing a little bit,” she said. “Being in a different country is like being in your own little world and if you love basketball you play wherever you can.”
Grant was the lone American on each team she played for in the pros and she said time far away from the United States helped her become the strong person she is today.
“You learn how to do things you never knew you could and you break language barriers,” she said.
Now Grant, who has a 4-year-old son named Chance, gets to help direct a basketball program while she constantly keeps her beloved Bulls in mind during the season.
Grant will often text Fernandez before games with words of encouragement and she said she’s proud of what USF women’s basketball continues to become. The Bulls have gone to the NCAA postseason 10 times in the past 11 years and former guard Inga Orekhova became the highest drafted USF player in program history in April, when she was selected by Atlanta with the 18th overall pick in the WNBA Draft.
“I just think from top to bottom Jose has always been dedicated to having a championship-winning program. He treats his players like professionals from an athletic perspective,” Grant said. “When you have kids that just love to play and love to compete that’s how you create an environment that is going to do nothing but build success.”