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ACC basketball coaches Brownell and Grant happy for new Virginia football coach Tony Elliott

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As high schoolers in the Charleston, S.C. area around the same time, new Virginia football coach Tony Elliott and first-year Boston College basketball coach Earl Grant went head-to-head more than once on the basketball court.

The two crossed paths again in the early 2010s, when both were assistant coaches at Clemson, Elliott with the football program, working under Dabo Swinney, and Grant as an aide to Brad Brownell’s basketball program.

Now, Grant has his second head coaching gig after a successful seven-year run at the College of Charleston, and Elliott is preparing for his first season leading the Virginia football program.

“I’ve known Tony for a long time,” Grant said Monday. “We did play against each other in basketball. I’m happy for him. That’s a big deal. He put a lot of work in, a lot of years. … I think he’s prepared for this opportunity to be a coach at that level.”

During their weekly Zoom call with media members on Monday, both Grant and Brownell were asked for their thoughts on Elliott becoming the new big whistle with the Cavaliers.

“Tremendous person and very good coach. Just really happy for him,” said Brownell, who has been the Tigers’ basketball coach since 2010. “I know he’s been extremely selective the last couple of years. He’s had a bunch of different opportunities and just wanted to always wait for what seemed to feel right for him. Virginia certainly seems like that. You’re getting a high character person who knows football, has been around winning football, has seen what it takes to build a championship level program. I can’t speak enough about his character and the way he does things and the way he operated here.”

The 42-year-old Elliott, a walk-on wide receiver at Clemson from 2000-2003, worked on Swinney’s staff there since 2011, moving up to offensive co-offensive coordinator in 2015. Virginia hired him in December to take over for Bronco Mendenhall, who stepped away from college football following this past season.


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