Charleston Cougars men's basketball

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Charleston Cougars
2023–24 Charleston Cougars men's basketball team
UniversityCollege of Charleston
Head coachPat Kelsey (3rd season)
ConferenceCoastal Athletic Association
LocationCharleston, South Carolina
ArenaTD Arena
(Capacity: 5,100)
ColorsMaroon and white[1]
NCAA tournament round of 32
NCAA tournament appearances
1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2018, 2023
Conference tournament champions
Dixie: 1964
TAAC/A-Sun: 1997, 1998
SoCon: 1999
CAA: 2018, 2023
Conference regular season champions
TAAC/A-Sun: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
SoCon: 1999, 2000, 2003, 2011
CAA: 2018, 2023

The Charleston Cougars men's basketball team is an NCAA Division I college basketball team representing the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The Cougars compete in the Coastal Athletic Association. Home games are played at TD Arena, located on College of Charleston's campus. While a member of the NAIA, they were National Champions in 1983.


The College of Charleston has sponsored a men's basketball team since 1898. They have been NCAA Division I since 1991 in the Trans-Atlantic Athletic Conference (now ASUN Conference), the Southern Conference and presently the Coastal Athletic Association (formerly the Colonial Athletic Association).[2] In 2012, ESPN ranked Charleston as the 73rd best college basketball program in the previous 50 years, which was the highest ranking of all Division I teams in the state of South Carolina.[3]

John Kresse era (1979–2001)[edit]

Under head coach John Kresse, the team had its greatest success. In 1983, the Cougars won the NAIA Championship. In the 1991–92 season, the Cougars made the jump to Division I and beat UNC–Charlotte in their first game. In the 1998–99 season, the team joined the Southern Conference, winning its only SoCon tournament championship that year. In 1994, 1997, 1998 and 1999, the Cougars reached the NCAA tournament, with a record of 1–4, beating Maryland in the opening round in 1997. In 1995 and 1996, the Cougars made the NIT.

The program's biggest regular season win in school history was over then-No. 3 North Carolina on the road on December 6, 1998. Kresse's career record at Charleston is 560–143.

Tom Herrion era (2002–06)[edit]

Many[who?] consider this a dark age for the program, as despite still recording winning seasons and a NIT berth in 2003. The Cougars' strength of schedule slid into decline and players with questionable reputations filled the roster. Tom Herrion's first Charleston team finished 25–8 in 2002–03, captured the Great Alaska Shootout title and advanced to the NIT. His 25 victories marked the highest total of any first-year NCAA Division I head coach during the 2002–03 season.[4] Herrion also guided the Cougars to a 20–9 finish in 2003–04, 18–10 performance in 2004–05 and 17–11 record in 2005–06. Herrion's final record was 80–38.

Bobby Cremins era (2006–12)[edit]

The College of Charleston hired former Georgia Tech head coach Bobby Cremins in 2006.[5] In each of Cremins' five complete seasons, Charleston won 20 games and Cremins won the SoCon Coach of the Year award in 2011. The Cougars played in a national postseason tournament in three consecutive seasons under Cremins, making the CBI in 2009 and 2010 and the NIT in 2011. During Cremins' tenure, the Cougars were put back in the national spotlight when they upset then-No.9 North Carolina on January 4, 2010, at TD Arena.[6] He took a leave of absence during the 2011–2012 season due to exhaustion and retired at the conclusion of the season.[7] His overall record at Charleston is 125–68.[8]

Doug Wojcik era (2012–14)[edit]

Doug Wojcik, University of Tulsa's all-time wins leader, was named the 22nd all-time head men's basketball coach at the College of Charleston on April 1, 2012.[9] In his first season with the Cougars, Wojcik led Charleston to the SoCon Championship before losing to Davidson. The Cougars were added to the CBI postseason tournament, losing to George Mason in the first round.[10] Charleston moved to the Colonial Athletic Association (now the Coastal Athletic Association) in 2013 and Wojcik's Cougars struggled to a 6–10 conference record. He was fired on August 5, 2014, with a 38–29 overall record.[11]

Earl Grant era (2014–2021)[edit]

Earl Grant, a former Clemson and Wichita State assistant, was named the Cougars' 23rd all-time head coach on September 2, 2014.[12] Charleston struggled in Grant's first year at the helm, finishing the season with just nine wins.[13] The Cougars did, however, win their first-ever CAA tournament game, a 56–48 decision over Drexel in the first round.[14] Grant got his first signature win with Charleston on November 30, 2015, when the Cougars defeated LSU 70–58 at TD Arena.[15]

Grant's Cougars experienced the national postseason for the first time under his watch during the 2016–17 season. After finishing the regular season with a 23–8 record and losing in the CAA Tournament final, Charleston received an at-large bid to the NIT as a five seed. The Cougars ultimately lost at Colorado State, 81–74.

In the 2017–2018 Season, Coach Grant and the Cougars managed a 26–8 season going 14–4 in the conference and undefeated at home, with sweeps over conference teams Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern and UNCW. The Cougars would take the regular-season conference championship in a 79–58 win over Elon and would go into the CAA Conference tournament as a #1 seed, going on to win the tournament championship in an 83–76 OT win over Northeastern.[16] Charleston would then receive a #13 seed spot in the 2018 NCAA Men's Tournament and play #4 Auburn in San Diego, CA.[17] After the season, Grant left to be head coach of Boston College.

Pat Kelsey era (2021–present)[edit]

The Cougars hired Pat Kelsey, former head coach at Winthrop University, on March 25, 2021.[18]

Conference affiliations[edit]

  1. ^ Currently known as the USA South Athletic Conference
  2. ^ Currently known as the ASUN Conference

Year-by-year history[edit]

Charleston's history since joining Division I in 1991.


NCAA tournament results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in the NCAA tournament six times. Their combined record is 1–6.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1994 #12 First round #5 Wake Forest L 58–68
1997 #12 First round
Second round
#5 Maryland
#4 Arizona
W 75–66
L 69–73
1998 #14 First round #3 Stanford L 57–67
1999 #8 First round #9 Tulsa L 53–62
2018 #13 First round #4 Auburn L 58–62
2023 #12 First round #5 San Diego State L 57–63

NIT results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) five times. Their combined record is 4–5.

Year Round Opponent Result
1995 First round Providence L 67–72
1996 First round
Second round
Rhode Island
W 55–49
L 58–62
2003 Opening Round
First round
Kent State
W 72–66
L 64–69
2011 First round
Second round
Cleveland State
Wichita State
W 94–84
W 64–56
L 75–82
2017 First round Colorado State L 74–81

CBI results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) three times. Their combined record is 2–3.

Year Round Opponent Result
2009 First round
W 93–91
L 72–74
2010 First round
Eastern Kentucky
W 82–79
L 86–93
2013 First round George Mason L 77–78

NAIA tournament results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in the NAIA tournament six times. Their combined record is 15–5. They were National Champions in 1983.

Year Round Opponent Result
1983 First round
Second round
National Championship
Saint John's (MN)
Oklahoma Panhandle State
Santa Fe
West Virginia Wesleyan
W 67–43
W 64–62 OT
W 67–62
W 66–65
W 57–53
1985 First round
Second round
Castleton State
Southeastern Oklahoma State
Wayland Baptist
W 68–52
W 60–43
L 68–73
1986 First round
Second round
W 57–47
W 59–46
L 60–63
1987 First round
Second round
Western State
W 67–51
L 57–65
1988 First round
Second round
National third-place game
University of the Ozarks
Saint Thomas Aquinas
W 78–62
W 73–59
W 67–61
L 70–74
W 89–61
1989 First round
Second round
Olivet Nazarene
Central Washington
W 79–64
L 55–66

Cougars in the NBA[edit]

Five former College of Charleston players have played in the NBA.

Name Years Played Teams
Jarrell Brantley 2020-2021 UTA
Joe Chealey 2019-2020 CHA
Andrew Goudelock 2012-2016 LAL and HOU
Anthony Johnson 1998-2010 SAC, ATL, ORL, CLE, NJN, IND, and DAL
Grant Riller 2021 CHA

Cougars in international leagues[edit]


  1. ^ College of Charleston Athletics Identity Standards (PDF). June 11, 2018. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  2. ^ "Charleston Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). CofC Sports.
  3. ^ "50 in 50: Conference breakdowns". ESPN.
  4. ^ "Herrion ready to restart his career". ESPN.
  5. ^ "Bobby Cremins". CofC Sports. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  6. ^ Final/OT (2010-01-05). "North Carolina vs. Charleston - Game Recap - January 4, 2010 - ESPN". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  7. ^ "Bobby Cremins taking indefinite leave". ESPN.
  8. ^ "Bobby Cremins". CofC Sports. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
  9. ^ Menchaca, Ron. "Doug Wojcik Named Men's Basketball Coach - College of Charleston News : College of Charleston News". Archived from the original on 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  10. ^ "Men's Basketball Wins Over Charleston, 78–77, in CBI". GMU Sports.
  11. ^ "College of Charleston fires embattled Wojcik". Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  12. ^ "College of Charleston names Earl Grant hoops coach". Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  13. ^ "2014–2015 CAA Standings". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  14. ^ "CofC-Drexel Boxscore". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  15. ^ "LSU Tigers vs. Charleston Cougars". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  16. ^ Miller, Andrew. "College of Charleston men's basketball advances to NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  17. ^ "Charleston Draws Auburn In NCAA First Round". Retrieved 2018-06-05.
  18. ^ "Kelsey Named Men's Basketball Head Coach at College of Charleston". College of Charleston Sports. Retrieved 2021-03-25.

External links[edit]