Former Ohio State Cornerback Doran Grant Enjoying New Job As Head Coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary

By Dan Hope on June 13, 2024 at 8:35 am
Doran Grant

Ten years after playing his final season as a Buckeye, Doran Grant was back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday as a high school football coach.

Entering his first year as the head coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he starred before playing for the Buckeyes, Grant had a full-circle moment on Wednesday as he brought the Fighting Irish to Columbus to participate in Ohio State’s first of two 7-on-7 tournaments this summer.

The former Ohio State cornerback, who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a starter for the 2014 national championship team, says he’s enjoying his new gig as a head coach so far.

“It's very great. I get to lead my alma mater out here to my other alma mater campus,” Grant said with a laugh as he looked out at the field where he once practiced as a Buckeye. “But it's really great. Getting to develop these kids, getting their attitudes going a little bit, and just learning football.”

Grant, who spent time with five NFL teams from 2015-18 and also played in three other professional leagues (AAF, XFL, CFL) before concluding his playing career in 2020, began his coaching career as Pickerington North’s defensive backs coach in 2022. He then became the defensive coordinator at Elyria Catholic, where he worked for his former Ohio State teammate Chase Farris last season, before being hired as his high school’s head coach in December.

An Akron native, Grant is excited to be able to make an impact on the community by coaching at his alma mater.

“It's been really great,” Grant said of being a head coach so far. “Just being able to connect with the community a lot more, teaching these boys different values outside the lines, and also sharpening their skills inside the lines.”

Grant says he draws back “a lot” on what he learned from his coaches at Ohio State now that he’s coaching himself.

“I use it as an outline,” Grant told Eleven Warriors. “I understand it's different levels, so you gotta manipulate it a little bit, but it's just as effective.”

“Just being able to connect with the community a lot more, teaching these boys different values outside the lines, and also sharpening their skills inside the lines.”– Doran Grant on what he likes about coaching

Grant says his strength and conditioning coaches at Ohio State, particularly former assistant Kenny Parker, have been a resource to him as he’s started his coaching career. When asked if being back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Wednesday brought back memories, however, he didn’t long for the days of going through workouts led by Mickey Marotti on those same fields.

“Well, not the fondest (memories) out here in the summer days, because we used to have the hardest conditioning you could have from Coach Mick in the middle of July,” Grant said with a smile. “But no, it's great memories. We had great practices here, great turning points here. It's just good to be here and look at the optics again.”

College football has changed significantly in the 10 years since Grant wore the scarlet and gray, as players now have the opportunity to make money off of their name, image and likeness, which Grant and his Ohio State teammates did not. What Grant says hasn’t changed, however, is the pride those players should feel to represent Ohio State to the best of their ability.

“Take it serious,” Grant said when asked what his advice would be for Ohio State’s current players. “I don't care how much money you're getting, you're still a Buckeye and you have a responsibility. Period.”

Grant was one of three former Ohio State football players who are now coaching teams that participated in Wednesday’s 7-on-7 tournament. Former OSU quarterback Stanley Jackson was also in attendance Wednesday with his Westerville North team. Farris’ Elyria Catholic team also participated in the tournament, making a run to the semifinals.

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