Not too long ago, Bill Grier was in a coaching minority when it came to job security.
For 23 seasons, Grier plied his trade at just two locales — first for 15 years as a highly regarded assistant at Gonzaga, and then another eight as the head man at the University of San Diego. This in a profession where making double-digit stops in that length of time hardly is out of the norm.
Grier learned more about the nomadic side of coaching over the past 13 months than he did the previous two-plus decades.
Grier, the newest addition to coach Tad Boyle's staff with the Colorado men's basketball team, was let go at San Diego following the 2014-15 season and spent the past year as an assistant at Oklahoma State. When Cowboys head coach Travis Ford was let go last month, Grier once again found himself in limbo.
He quickly landed at CU, and Grier is hoping his latest stop becomes a long-term home as he tries to make his experience as a West Coast recruiter pay dividends for the Buffs in the Pac-12 Conference.
"I learned it was against the norm to be in two great spots for 24 years," Grier said. "It's a hard profession. Every job has its own challenges. Some different than others, but they're all tough. It's just the nature of the business. I was fortunate to be at those two places, and then in the last year I've been in two places.
"It's been different for me to have to go through it. The thing I found is that it makes you stronger. It makes you a better coach. You analyze things you did well, what you didn't do well. I think it was a real growing experience for me."
Grier reports that while he still is transitioning both himself and his family to Boulder from Stillwater, Okla., he already has plunged into the recruiting waters for the Buffs. When Grier was hired, the Buffs' roster for 2016-17 was set. However, with the transfers of Tre'Shaun Fletcher and Kenan Guzonjic, CU now has two scholarships to use in improving next year's team, with Boyle making it clear he is looking for a post player who can contribute immediately, if even in just a bench role.
So Grier's vast experience as a recruiter — particularly on the West Coast — could prove to be a more immediate asset than previously considered. Unlike his brief stint at Oklahoma State, Grier can sell recruits in his West Coast stomping grounds on the idea that coming to Boulder will still allow them to play frequently near their homes.
"I think kids from the West are intrigued by the Big 12, but you're going across a lot of states to get there," Grier said. "Whereas in the Pac-12, there might be an LA kid or a Bay Area kid or a kid from the Northwest, their families are going to have a chance to see them in person when they travel into those areas.
"To me, one of the great things about Colorado is being in the Pac-12. You get to go into those cities and it increases the recruiting base."