Leeping ahead of the competition

Men’s basketball Head coach Grant Leep wins conference Coach of the Year in fourth season

Calvin Quisumbing
The score is close and Coach Leep stratigizes with the team during the second half of the game hoping to overtake the seawolves.

Seattle Pacific University’s men’s basketball team has been flying ahead of the competition this season and while the players have been making the plays on the court, Head Coach Grant Leep has been leading them to victory off the court. 

Leep is in his fourth season as head coach of the Falcons and he received recognition for his coaching ability by winning the conference Coach of the Year award. Leep is the third Falcon head coach to win the award since the GNAC conference formed in 2002, joining Jeff Hironaka in 2006 and 2007, and Ryan Looney in 2010 and 2014. 

But Coach Leep deflected the attention from himself. 

“I couldn’t have won this award without Coach Bone, Coach Fazio, Coach Parker and Coach Webb,” he said. 

“To win a coach of the year award, you generally need to have a really good team … In a lot of ways this is a byproduct of building the team to the best of our abilities.” 

In 2002, Leep graduated from the University of Washington, where he started 27 games and averaged 7.8 points per game his senior season. From there, Leep was an assistant coach at North Seattle Community College, Spokane Community College and Eastern Washington University. 

In 2009, Leep joined SPU’s coaching staff as an assistant coach, coaching on Ryan Looney’s staff until Looney left for Point Loma Nazarene University in 2016. Leep was then named the next head coach of the Falcon men’s basketball.

Leep led the Falcons to a combined 51-35 record over his first three seasons — and this season the Falcons have kept it up, winning 14 straight games after falling in their first four of the season. They have a 22-7 record so far on the season.

“This team has been so together all season long,” Leep said. “They’ve trusted us as coaches and trusted each other especially in moments of adversity. The way this team has matured and handled any situation thrown their way has been very inspiring.”

The Falcons look to keep their season going as they face off against Chico State Friday, March 13 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament.