Eden Prairie’s Grant withdraws as St. John’s football coaching candidate

Speculation about Mike Grant’s future coaching plans has gone on for months. But Grant’s future plans were resolved last week.

Eden Prairie's Mike Grant. (File photo by Brian Nelson)
Eden Prairie’s Mike Grant. (File photo by Brian Nelson)

Eden Prairie High School fans can relax because the successful Eagle football coach and athletic director will remain in his present positions. Grant decided EPHS was the best place for him at this stage of his coaching and administrative careers.

Grant was one of three finalists for the St. John’s University head football coaching vacancy left by the retirement of the Johnnies’ hall of fame coach John Gagliardi.

Other finalists were St. John’s assistant coach Gary Fasching and former St. John’s quarterback and former Carleton coach Kurt Ramler.

Grant was an all-American tight end for Gagliardi during his collegiate playing career at the Collegeville-based school near St. Cloud.

Gagliardi coached college football for 64 seasons (60 at St. John’s) and finished his illustrious career with 489 victories, most in college football history.

However, Grant withdrew as a finalist to coach at his college alma mater Dec. 27.

A day later, St. John’s hired Fasching as its replacement for Gagliardi.

“I had a couple of good interviews and discussions with members of the coaching selection committee,” said Grant Saturday. “But in the end, I decided that I had too much invested in Eden Prairie High School and didn’t want to leave an attractive situation like I have here.

“I have a lot love for St. John’s and the interview process was a good one for me to go through. I might have made a different decision 10 years ago but am happy with my current situation at Eden Prairie.”

Grant was a teammate of new Johnnies head coach Fasching and is happy for him.

“We played football together at St. John’s and Gary is a good guy,” said Grant. “He has been around the St. John’s program for a long time and deserves the head coaching job.”

Grant has guided Eden Prairie to eight state football championships, more than any other coach in state history. Grant is hoping to lead the Eagles to more state championships in the future.

Eden Prairie celebrated the 2012 season with a 28-7 victory over Lakeville North Nov. 23 in the Prep Bowl state Class 6A title game at the Metrodome.

“I’m excited about next season because I think we will be a very good football team,” said Grant. “We return half of our defensive and offensive starters from last season’s state championship team.

“I talked to the players at the end of this past season and told them that I might be a candidate for the St. John’s job,” said Grant. “It is actually a great relief for me to get this St. John’s situation out of the way.

“I have a great coaching staff at Eden Prairie and enjoy being around our players. Our guys are already working hard in the weight room.

“I was never looking for another job because I have a great one at Eden Prairie,” added Grant.