OSU men's basketball: David Grace leaves for assistant spot at UCLA

2013-04-06T19:30:00Z 2013-04-06T19:32:07Z OSU men's basketball: David Grace leaves for assistant spot at UCLABy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

The last couple days brought a whirlwind of events through David Grace’s life.

The end result for Grace, who just finished his fifth year as an assistant coach with the Oregon State men’s basketball team, is a spot on Steve Alford’s staff at UCLA.

Grace said he’s going to miss Corvallis, the team and coach Craig Robinson.

“I think the world of Craig Robinson, giving me the opportunity,” Grace said Saturday afternoon.

“It’s just UCLA. I have to take that.”

Grace spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant at Sacramento State and 2007-08 as the lead assistant at University of San Francisco before coming to Corvallis.

He was a jack of all trades at OSU.

Grace is a strong recruiter and helped bring Jared Cunningham to OSU, along with 2012-13 players Roberto Nelson, Joe Burton, Eric Moreland, Jarmal Reid, Langston Morris-Walker, Victor Robbins and Daniel Jones.

He also did a lot of scouting work for the Beavers.

The dominoes began falling on Thursday.

Grace was a candidate to join the staff at New Mexico under new coach Craig Neal, who took over for Alford.

Grace knew Neal and had recruited his son, Cullen, during the past year and offered him a scholarship to play for OSU.

Neal had called Grace a few days earlier to see if he was interested in coming to Albuquerque and Grace said that he was, but then there was silence.

“I called and texted him and he didn’t respond,” Grace said. “Then they held his press conference and he had hired two of the guys that were already there.

“That told me that it wasn’t sure that I was going to get the job.”

Grace didn’t really know Alford. They had run into each other a time or two and talked once at an AAU game.

“When I heard about the UCLA job I also heard that he had already hired all of his assistants,” Grace said. “So I didn’t pursue talking to him.”

That is, until Grace arrived at the Final Four in Atlanta.

“I got a call from a friend of mine saying that I need to talk to Steve Alford,” Grace said. “That he’s very interested.”

Grace made contact and Alford set up an interview.

In the meantime, Grace ran across new USC coach Andy Enfield, who said he wanted to talk on Monday.

“So they were very interested in me,” Grace said.

Grace won’t be talking to the Trojans, however.

His interview with Alford went very well.

“He called Craig (Robinson) and said that he was very interested in me and it went from there,” Grace said. “He offered me the job.”

That was Friday night at about 7:30.

“I’m still in shock,” Grace said.

Grace will continue to do a bit of everything at UCLA, but will focus on recruiting.

Robinson posted a message to Grace on Twitter congratulating him on getting the UCLA job.

“... Great opportunity. Thanks for your service and you’ll always be part of the (family).”

Robinson now has the task of bringing in a new assistant in a short window of time.

Grace leaves Atlanta on Monday to return to Corvallis for a day to say his farewells.

Then it’s on to Westwood on Tuesday. Relocation will take place in May. There’s recruiting to be done.

Kevin Hampton is sports reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9519 or kevin.hampton@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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