WILMINGTON – Three days after helping cut down the net following North Carolina’s sixth Men’s Basketball National Championship, new University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) sideline boss C.B. McGrath was in Trask Coliseum Thursday as part of a welcoming celebration with Seahawk nation.
While meeting with fans during a well-attended event inside UNCW’s 5,200 seat arena, which housed five sellouts during Seahawks run to its third straight Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) regular season title this year, McGrath exuded excitement and confidence for keeping UNCW’s reign atop the CAA and national stage in place.
Afterward, he met with members of the media to talk about a number of things from style of play, recruiting and current roster. Video from his news conference is below:
The Seahawks are coming off their second CAA Tournament Championship in last two years and back-to-back berths in NCAA Tournament. UNCW established a school record for single season victories, surpassing the 25 wins set by the 2005-06 and 2015-16 squads. With a 13-1 home record, this year’s club also won more games at Trask Coliseum than another team in the building’s 40-year history.
During the public welcoming McGrath remained focused on making sure Seahawk faithful understood they were in good hands. The 18-year assistant under Coach Roy Williams (14 at North Carolina) is moving into his first head coaching job.
“Opportunity meets preparedness today, success is the result,” he said. “It’s one of the jobs I would leave Chapel Hill for. Trask Coliseum is going to be a destination, not just a gymnasium.”
As the 11th head coach in UNCW Men’s Basketball history, McGrath and the university agreed to a five-year deal worth $1.5 million. He’s guaranteed $300,000 per year in addition to supplemental income for appearances and bonuses.
Historically speaking, the UNCW program has had luck in keeping momentum rolling from one coach to the next. Jerry Wainwright guided Seahawks to the promised land with a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, including UNCW’s only win in the Big Dance, and two NIT bids between 1997-2002. His then assistant, Brad Brownell, now Head Coach at Clemson, followed with two more NCAA Tournaments during his tenure from 2002-2006.
However, after Brownell’s departure, UNCW suffered a decade long championship drought during which the Seahawks finished no better than eighth in the CAA and a combined 83-154 under Benny Moss and Buzz Peterson.
That led to the hire of former Head Coach Kevin Keatts. In just three years, Keatts turned around a once dormant program into a mid-major powerhouse. He was hired by North Carolina State one day after the Seahawks fell to Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.
With Keatts coming from longtime Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino’s coaching tree, UNCW looks to have found a perfect fit to move forward in McGrath, the assistant of another hall of fame coach.