Vanderbilt Basketball hires David Grace as Associate Head Coach


Graphic via Vanderbilt Athletics

Simon Gibbs, Senior Writer

David Grace has officially been named associate head coach of the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team, the university announced Thursday afternoon.

This hire marks the first assistant coaching role filled by new Head Coach Jerry Stackhouse and Athletic Director Malcolm Turner.

Grace has the background to serve as a terrific complement to Stackhouse, who lacks prior experience in college coaching. Grace has a thorough background in the collegiate realm. He first made the switch from high school to college in 2006, when he accepted an assistant coaching position at Sacramento State. Since then, he has held assistant coaching roles at San Francisco state, Oregon State, UCLA, and Cal Berkeley.

Above all, Grace is known in the basketball world for his immense recruiting skill.

In a 2016 poll, ESPN surveyed nearly 60 division-I coaches to create a list of the nation’s best recruiters. Grace, an assistant at UCLA at the time, cracked the top 10 at number seven (number one on the west-coast). Given his track record with recruits–Kevon Looney, Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf, Kris Wilkes and Shareef O’Neal, just to name a few–and his relationship with successful AAU programs, the ranking is well-deserved.

At UCLA, Grace helped the Bruins to a 117-57 record with four NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Sweet Sixteens. He also helped bring in four top-five recruiting classes in his time with the program.

Grace has coached the Compton Magic, giving him ties to one of the biggest AAU programs on the west coast, and even co-founded an AAU team of his own: the Arizona Magic. This program, an affiliate of the Compton Magic, has made it as far as the Elite Eight (out of 338 AAU teams) under his leadership.

Prior to joining the coaching ranks, he spent 20 years in active duty in the U.S. Air Force, serving in Operation Desert Storm and in countries such as Turkey, Germany and Spain.