"Meet the Staff" with Dr. G. Anthony Grant - Director of Athletics/DAPER Department Head

Headshot of Dr. G. Anthony Grant, with a campus photo in the background.

Cambridge, Mass. (February 9) -- As part of a series that is taking place throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) is featuring a number of head coaches and DAPER staff members to learn more about them. This next installment of the series features Dr. G. Anthony Grant, who is in his second year as the MIT director of athletics/DAPER department head after starting his job at MIT on February 10, 2020.

As part of each feature, we have included a written question and answer session, along with a video interview where recruits, alumni, fans and others can learn more about the MIT staff. If you can't currently visit MIT, we will bring MIT to you!

Q: What is your favorite restaurant that you have discovered in your time in Massachusetts?
A: Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get out to try many new restaurants. I honestly can't say that I have one, yet. We've stayed pretty close to home and have ordered quite a bit of take-out. We've tried some really good places near our home, Italian food from the North End, seafood from Legal Sea Food (of course), several ice cream places, and last but certainly not least Flour (when I'm on campus). Looking forward to really getting out to explore once we move through the pandemic.

Q: What do you do to relax away from the office?
A: I spend time with my family. My wife and I have three children, so there is usually some activity that they are involved in that occupies most of our time. Other than that, I like to listen to music, watch movies, go to museums and shows, as well as attend sporting events (just to be a fan). I recently broke down and bought a Peloton, in order to stay in shape since we've been working from home. 

Q: What is your favorite book?
A: Unfortunately, I don't take the time to read for pleasure, even now. That is something that I should do more of. The books that I usually read are largely about leadership and organizational culture. Some of the more influential books that I've read is Good To Great, Jim Collins, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni, Extreme Ownership, Jacko Willink and Leif Babin, Leadership and Organizational Culture, Edgar Shein and The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg. There are some other really good ones out there and this list could get pretty long.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle.  This quote resonates with me because it serves as a reminder that striving for excellence is a daily pursuit and is a result of a culmination of consistent and intentional behaviors, which also requires a high level of discipline.

Q: After the pandemic ends, where will you go for your first vacation?
A: There are so many beautiful places to see here in Massachusetts that my family and I haven't had an opportunity to visit yet. So, once the pandemic ends, we're going to explore more of the state and spend some time in Cape Cod and/or Martha's Vineyard. My wife and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this July, so hopefully we'll be able to go somewhere tropical!

Q: What is your favorite part of being in New England?
A: I am originally from Philadelphia, so it's nice to be back on the East Coast, closer to family and friends. My wife and I also like to vacation near the water, so being close to the beaches is very appealing. We also look forward to exploring some of the other states in New England. Lastly, I'm a big fan of the lobster rolls here in Boston!

Q: If you have one, who is your mentor during your career?
A: I'm fortunate to have benefited from having an "advisory board" of mentors throughout my personal and professional life. I would not be where am today or who I am today if it weren't for my mentors. Although there are several that I could name, one of my most influential mentors would be Peter Roby, former leader of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society and retired AD - Northeastern University, currently serves as a consultant the NCAA leadership development staff. I heard him speak while I participated in the NCAA Leadership Program in 2011 and then reconnected in 2013 during my participation in the NCAA Pathway Program. I admired him for being a genuine, highly accomplished and respected AD of color, who is a values-based leader that is singularly committed to enhancing the student-athlete experience. That is the leader that I strive to be. Years ago, I told Peter that he was going to be my mentor and he hasn't been able to get rid of me ever since. 

Q: What TV or Netflix series have you discovered since we have been working remotely?
A: In addition to watching professional sports (NBA in bubble) and NFL games, I watched a little bit of everything on Netflix and Apple TV+ since we've been working remotely. On Netflix, I've watched the Coaches Rules for Life series, which provides some very important takeaways for success in all aspects of life. For a change of pace, I got into watching Ozark.  Most recently, I've been watching Ted Lasso and Servant on Apple TV+. Even though Ted Lasso is a comedy, there's some good leadership nuggets in there, if you pay attention.

Q: What is your favorite professional sports team?
A: Philadelphia Eagles.

Q: If you weren't in athletics, what type of career do you think you would have gone into?
A: I would be a lawyer. I always wanted to be an attorney from a young age, up through college before I set may path toward a career in athletics. My oldest daughter is setting her sights on career in the legal profession, so I can live vicariously through her.

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