One of the longest-tenured assistants in the Pac-12, Grace most recently completed five seasons at UCLA, and five seasons at Oregon State prior to that, along with stints at the University of San Francisco and Sacramento State. He also served with the United States Air Force for two decades.
“I am very excited to welcome David, his wife Crystal and his children to our Cal family. David is a terrific coach with 10 years of experience in our conference who is extremely loyal and hard-working, and he just happens to be one of the best recruiters in the country,” Jones said. “His track record speaks for itself, and anyone who knows David will tell you he’s an absolute class act.”
While at UCLA, Grace helped the Bruins compile a 117-57 record with four NCAA Tournament appearances, plus four Top 5 recruiting classes. He played a key role in the development of 10 prepsters to the NBA, including Lonzo Ball, Kevon Looney, TJ Leaf and Zach LaVine.
Grace’s time in Westwood saw the Bruins advance to the Sweet Sixteen during three of his seasons, including the Ball-led 2017 squad that posted a 31-5 overall record. The 2017 and 2014 UCLA squads ranked among the nation’s elite in numerous categories, including scoring, assist turnover ration and assists per game.
In 2016, he was ranked seventh nationally and top recruiter in the West based on an ESPN coaching peer survey. He helped the Bruins establish the No. 2 recruiting class for 2018, including nine top 100 prospects across back-to-back recruiting classes.
From 2009-13, he served as an assistant at Oregon State under Craig Robinson, helping OSU to its highest five-year win total (78) since 1988-92 and a school-record and conference-best 78.9 points per game in the 2011-12 season. Grace’s prowess as a recruiter was also evident with the Beavers, where he recruited two nationally ranked recruits in his first season in Roberto Nelson and Joe Burton. Under Grace’s tutelage, Nelson developed into the conference scoring champion (20.7 ppg) and Burton accumulated more than 1,000 points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. Grace also lured Jared Cunningham to Corvallis, guiding him to all-conference honors and a first-round NBA Draft selection in 2012.
In 2011, Grace was selected to attend the prestigious Villa 7 Center for Sports Leadership Conference at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), where he learned alongside an elite group of basketball coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners.
He got his start in collegiate coaching at Sacramento State in 2006, recruiting 2006-07 Big Sky Freshman of the YearVinnie McGhee before moving on to become the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at USF.
Prior to joining the NCAA coaching ranks, Grace spent several years as a high school coach, winning the 5A Division II state championship with his South Mountain High School squad in Phoenix, Ariz. in 2004-05. The following year, he was honored with ArizonaVarsity.com and Arizona Informant 5A Coach of the Year laurels. South Mountain won just four games the year before Grace arrived and then went 29-4 in his second year to win the 2004-05 championship.
Grace’s collegiate coaching career came following 20 years of active duty service with the Air Force, serving in Operation Desert Storm and in countries including Turkey, Germany, Spain and Saudi Arabia. He is a decorated veteran who served in roles such as fuel specialist and fuel accountant before later earning a promotion as a human relations specialist who handled discrimination cases.
During his military career, Grace coached with Boo Williams’ AAU program and later helped co-found the Compton Magic AUU program, continuing his passion for basketball from Georgia to Virginia and Arizona.
Grace has also worked with the Nike N7 program to honor Native Americans.
A native of Aberdeen, Md., Grace earned a bachelor’s degree in management and human resources from Park University, as well as degrees in logistics and social services from the Air Force. He and his wife, Crystal, have six children –Troy, Terrell, Tierra, David II, Aubrey and Andre.
“David rounds out a staff that I’m excited to come to work with and go to battle with every day,” Jones added.
Grace fills out Jones’ coaching staff after the departure of associate head coach Tim O’Toole, who joined the coaching staff at Pitt.