Grant Billmeier, who has served on Seton Hall men’s basketball head coach Kevin Willard’s staff for 10 of 11 seasons, including the last six as an assistant coach, has been promoted to associate head coach, Willard announced Thursday. Billmeier has been a part of a coaching staff that captured BIG EAST Championships in 2016 and 2020 and guided the Pirates to four straight NCAA Tournaments from 2016-19 with a fifth straight NCAA bid in 2020 canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Grant has been an integral member of our staff and the success we have been able to achieve here at Seton Hall,” Willard said. “The passion and energy he brings to work every single day is infectious, and he works very hard to ensure that our players get better on the court, in the classroom and in life. Our program would not be where it is today without Grant’s dedication, and he’s earned this promotion to associate head coach.”
Billmeier, who is a 2007 graduate of Seton Hall, has been instrumental not only in recruiting but also in skill development that has led to numerous Pirates earning All-BIG EAST accolades. He helped develop Angel Delgado into one of the top basketball players in the country. In 2017, Delgado led the nation in rebounding at 13.1 per game, was named the Haggerty Award Metropolitan Player of the Year and unanimous All-BIG EAST. Then in 2018, Delgado broke the BIG EAST career rebounds record, posted the NCAA Tournament’s first 20-20 game since 2012 and won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar National Center of the Year Award.
Billmeier’s tireless work with Romaro Gill transformed the 7-2 center from role player as a junior into impactful starter and feared shot blocker on a championship team as a senior. Gill averaged 3.2 blocks per game to finish third in the nation, and he won the BIG EAST’s blocks championship by averaging 3.4 rejections per conference contest. To add to his impact, Gill drastically improved his offensive game and was the BIG EAST’s field goal percentage champion by making 63.5 percent of his attempts during league play. At season’s end, he not only was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year, but he also was named BIG EAST Most Improved.
Billmeier also had a heavy hand in Sandro Mamukelashvili’s development from playing only 9.6 minutes per game as a freshman into the 2021 BIG EAST Player of the Year as a senior. In 2020-21, Mamukelashvili was one of only two players in the BIG EAST to rank in the league’s top-five in scoring and rebounding and top-15 in scoring, rebounding and assists. In addition to being named the conference player of the year, Mamukelashvili was the 2021 Haggerty Award Metropolitan Player of the Year, All-America honorable mention and a finalist for the Karl Malone National Power Forward of the Year Award.
In Billmeier’s six seasons as an assistant, Seton Hall produced a BIG EAST Tournament championship in 2016, a BIG EAST regular season championship in 2020, four NCAA Tournament appearances with a fifth canceled by COVID-19, six top-four finishes in the BIG EAST standings, five 20-win seasons and 27 weeks ranked in the Associated Press top 25, including as high as eighth.
When including his two NCAA Tournament appearances as a Seton Hall student-athlete in 2004 and 2006, Billmeier has now represented Seton Hall in six NCAA Tournaments, tying former head coach P.J. Carlesimo and assistant coaches Bruce Hamburger and Tom Sullivan for most NCAA Tournament appearances while either playing and/or coaching at Seton Hall.
Billmeier’s successful tenure at The Hall led him to receive an invite to the prestigious 2020 TopConnect Virtual Seminar, which identifies the top basketball assistant coaches in the country and connects them with mid-major Athletic Directors providing tremendous networking opportunities for both parties. He then was a participant in the 2021 TopConnect Leadership Institute, which identifies the top basketball assistant coaches and senior level athletics administrators in the country and provides them the necessary skills and relationships to assist them on their career path.