David Grace enters his third season as an assistant coach at UCLA in 2015-16.
In his second year at UCLA, Grace helped the Bruins compile a 22-14 overall record and the program’s second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16. In the summer of 2015, forward Kevon Looney and guard Norman Powell were selected in the NBA Draft. Through just two years in Westwood, Grace and the Bruins’ coaches have helped send seven UCLA players to the NBA, along with Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson, Zach LaVine, David Wear and Travis Wear.
During his first season in Westwood, Grace helped guide UCLA to a 28-9 mark, including the Pac-12 Tournament Championship and the program’s first appearance in the Sweet 16 since 2008. The Bruins finished the season ranking No. 11 in the country in scoring (81.2 points per game), No. 3 in assist turnover ratio (1.7), No. 4 in steals (9.2 spg) and No. 5 in assists (17.2 apg). Grace’s efforts on the recruiting trail helped UCLA secure an incoming group ranked as high as No. 3, nationally.
Grace has served as an assistant coach in the Pac-12 Conference the last seven seasons, including a five-year stint at Oregon State University (2009-13). He arrived at UCLA after serving as an assistant coach the previous five seasons (2009-13) at Oregon State. Early in his tenure with the Beavers, Grace became one of the leading recruiters in the Pac-12 Conference.
In five years in Corvallis, Ore., Grace helped lead Oregon State to its highest five-year win total (78) since the 1988 to 1992 seasons. In addition, Oregon State made three trips to the postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI), including a 5-1 run in the 2008-09 tournament, giving the Beavers the national tournament championship.
Grace’s work at Oregon State helped the Beavers both on the recruiting trail and with player development. In his first season at Oregon State, he recruited Roberto Nelson and Joe Burton from southern California. Nelson and Burton were the first two nationally-ranked recruits at Oregon State under head coach Craig Robinson. Nelson led the Pac-12 in scoring as a senior (2013-14), securing honorable mention All-Pac-12 acclaim during his junior and senior campaigns. Burton served as team captain during his senior year (2012-13), having produced over 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in four seasons.
Grace also was instrumental in the recruitment and development of talented big men Eric Moreland and Angus Brandt. Moreland, a 6-foot-10 center from Houston, emerged as one of the conference’s top defensive players, leading the Pac-12 in blocked shots in 2011-12. He shattered the school’s single-season record for blocks and broke the school’s record for rebounds by a freshman. Brandt, a 6-foot-10 center from Sydney, Australia, played in 125 games at Oregon State, twice securing Pac-12 All-Academic Team honors.
During Grace’s second season in Corvallis, he helped recruit Jared Cunningham to Oregon State. A first-round NBA Draft selection in 2012 by the Dallas Mavericks, Cunningham established himself as a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2011-12 and was twice named a Pac-12 All-Tournament Team selection. Grace had also recruited Cunningham while serving as an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco.
Led by Cunningham, Nelson, Burton and Moreland in 2011-12, the Beavers won 21 games, reaching the 20-win plateau for the first time in more than two decades. The Beavers averaged a school record 78.9 points per game, leading the Pac-12 in scoring for the first time in school history.
In addition to recruiting, Grace assisted in all aspects of the game for Oregon State’s program. He was selected to attend the prestigious Villa 7 Center for Sports Leadership Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va., in the summer of 2011 with an elite group of Division I assistant basketball coaches, 54 athletic directors and 12 conference commissioners. He has also worked for several years with the Nike N7 program to honor Native Americans.
A decorated military veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm, Grace quickly rose through the high school and college coaching ranks prior to his arrival at Oregon State. Known for his tireless work ethic and inspirational leadership, he developed an intimate knowledge of the game forged over 30 years of working in all aspects of the sport. He has played, coached and refereed basketball games across America and on three continents.
Grace served as the top assistant coach at the University of San Francisco with responsibilities as head recruiting coordinator. He also served as head of scouting, working as an academic coordinator, and assisted with fundraising efforts.
Grace broke into the NCAA Division I college coaching ranks as an assistant coach at Sacramento State University, where he assisted in all aspects of the program. While at Sacramento State, he recruited 2006-07 Big Sky Freshman of the Year selection Vinnie McGhee from Oakland’s McClymonds High School. Prior to moving to the Division I college coaching level, Grace became a high school head coach after taking an early retirement from the military. He had served 20 years of active duty service in the U.S. Air Force and chose to dedicate his career to coaching basketball and teaching.
During the 2004-05 season, Grace was hired as a business teacher and head coach at South Mountain High School in Phoenix, Ariz., where he guided the Jaguars to a 5A Division II state championship in his second year, compiling a 29-4 overall record.
Grace was honored as the 2005-06 ArizonaVarsity.com and Arizona Informant 5A Coach of theYear after turning around a struggling program that had won four games the season before he arrived. Several players from his program moved on to play college basketball. Several coaches he mentored during that time became high school head basketball coaches, including two who advanced their teams to high school state titles.
Prior to becoming a head coach, Grace volunteered for several years as a high school and club coach while stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix. He began working in the high school ranks at Phoenix Trevor Browne as an assistant coach. That team advanced to the state semifinals in 2003 and was ranked among the top 40 schools, nationally, by The Sporting News before the 2003-04 season.
Grace began coaching basketball with Boo Williams’ AAU program in Hampton, Virginia. He also co-founded the Arizona Magic AAU program. His top team finished eighth out of 337 programs in the Reebok Big Time Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., which was the best finish in the history of any AAU team from Arizona.
Grace grew up in Aberdeen, Md., and earned a bachelor’s of science degree in management and human resources from Park University and degrees in logistics and social services from the Air Force. He and his wife, Crystal, have six grown children – Troy, Terrell, Tierra, David II, Aubrey and Andre. His father, Gerald, was a high school basketball referee in Maryland for 35 years.