- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

Alabama coach Anthony Grant will get his chance to try to turn the Crimson Tide’s fortunes around after his first losing season.

Athletic director Bill Battle wrote on his blog Friday that Grant will return for his sixth season. Alabama spokesman Doug Walker confirmed that Grant is returning.

“Simply put, this is a program that is not adrift, and is not devoid of leadership and talent,” Battle wrote. “I believe this is a program that has better days ahead.

“The expectations of competing for championships and a high postseason finish remain. There is much that is right about our men’s basketball program at this time. Coach Grant has earned the chance to continue building this program into the winner that we all know it should be. He’s done it before. He can do it again.”

The Crimson Tide fell to 13-19 last season and lost to LSU 68-56 Thursday night in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Grant had led the Tide to an average of 23 wins over the previous three seasons, including an NIT championship game appearance. Alabama made it to the NCAA tournament in 2012.

In September 2012, Grant received a $100,000 raise to $1.9 million annually and extension through 2019. Alabama would have owed him a $5 million buyout if he had been fired.

The Tide was short-handed after two players transferred and a third was dismissed. Forward Nick Jacobs missed the final seven games after taking what Alabama described as a “leave of absence,” leaving only eight available scholarship players.

Battle said he has been impressed with Grant after watching practices and having “several philosophical discussions.” He noted that Alabama faced one of the nation’s toughest nonconference schedules this season and cited the program’s strong academic ratings under Grant.

“At this level of collegiate athletics there is a very fine line that separates winning and losing,” Battle said. “The 2013-14 men’s basketball season has been a disappointing one. Many factors shape a season. We made some strategic decisions going into the year, both with scheduling and with players, that didn’t work out like we planned.”

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