It’s official: UNC-Wilmington lands longtime North Carolina assistant as new head basketball coach

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WILMINGTON – The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) has named its successor to now North Carolina State Head Basketball Coach Kevin Keatts. After unconfirmed reports broke over the weekend, UNCW Board of Trustees met Monday and approved longtime North Carolina-Chapel Hill assistant Colin Bryan (C.B.) McGrath as the programs 11th Head Coach.

“We’ve recruited an outstanding head coach to mentor these student-athletes for success on and off the court,” Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said. “C.B. McGrath has been an integral part of North Carolina’s winning tradition, and I know he will bring us that same commitment to sportsmanship and excellence. Seahawk fans everywhere are looking forward to watching the team achieve even greater heights under Coach McGrath’s leadership.”

C.B. McGrath has been an assistant for Coach Roy Williams since his days at Kansas. Photo courtesy- North Carolina Athletics.
C.B. McGrath has been an assistant for Coach Roy Williams since his days at Kansas. (Photo courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)

While McGrath has been in Phoenix, Arizona for the past week as part of Tar Heels push for a seventh national championship, the 40-year-old visited Wilmington leading up to Final Four to interview for the opening before departing for the desert.

Following the immediate departure of Keatts, just one day after the Seahawks fell to Virginia in the First-Round of the NCAA Tournament, UNCW then named assistant Takayo Siddle as interim Head Coach. Siddle turned in his resignation on March 27 and has since been hired as an assistant under Keatts at N.C. State.

McGrath will wrap up his 14th year at North Carolina and 18th season as a member of Roy Williams’ staff when the final horn sounds during tonight’s championship contest between Tar Heels and Gonzaga.

“We conducted a thorough search for someone who would continue the successful style and championship culture that we have instilled here,” Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass, said. “C.B. has worked alongside one of the nation’s top head coaches in Roy Williams. He is a tireless recruiter and excellent game tactician. Everyone in Seahawk Nation will enjoy getting to know him, and we’re very pleased to welcome C.B. and his family to Wilmington.”

Known as a talented recruiter, McGrath also serves as bench coach, scout and oversees North Carolina’s coaches’ clinics and its autographed basketball program, donating money annually to local charities.

As a player, McGrath initially began his college career as a walk-on before earning a scholarship prior to the start of his freshman season at Kansas. He was the top reserve behind first-team All-America Jacque Vaughn in 1994-95 and Ryan Robertson as a senior. The Jayhawks were a perfect 58-0 at Allen Fieldhouse in his career. He was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection.

McGrath is a native of Indianapolis, Ind. He is one of 20 members of his family who attended the University of Kansas. McGrath attended Topeka West High School, where he earned 13 varsity letters in basketball, cross country, track and golf. He was the Kansas High School Player of the Year in basketball as a senior and placed in the top 10 in the state in cross country and golf.

He earned a B.A. in human biology and master’s degree in education. McGrath’s wife, Kris, played tennis at Kansas, where she was the Big 12 Player of the Year. The couple has twin daughters, Kate and Addison, and a son, Hunter.

C.B. McGrath is set to take over as UNCWs 10th Head Coach in program history. Photo courtesy- @UNC_Basketball
C.B. McGrath is set to take over as UNCWs 10th Head Coach in program history. (Photo courtesy of @UNC_Basketball)

For Seahawk fans, the recruiting aspect of McGrath’s resume sticks out most after watching UNCW flourish from a worst-to-first turnaround immediately following the arrival of Keatts.

Just this season, the Seahawks cranked out 29 victories, setting a combined 63 team and individual records en route to the school’s sixth Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) championship and subsequent NCAA berth.

UNCW, 29-6, featured the most prolific offense in the CAA and one of the nation’s top explosive units by averaging 84.8 points per game, the most in the history of the program.

Under Keatts, the Seahawks claimed three CAA Regular Season Titles, a pair of CAA Tournament Championships and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. UNCW had a 72-28 overall record and 41-13 conference mark during Keatts’ tenure.

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