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"One on One" with Oregon States assistant coach Dave Grace
By: Jeff Meadows
While watching a basketball game, one of the more noticeable figures in the game besides the players and referees are the coaches. Pacing up and down their respective benches, relaying plays to their teams, making the job of a coach at any level look fairly easy which is about as far off from the truth as you can be. To move up in the coaching ranks is even harder which is explains why very few coaches have been able to achieve. Today HOOPSREPORT will be bringing to you our loyal viewers an EXCLUSIVE interview with a coach that has been able to move up the college coaching ranks by shear hard work and positive results on and off the court. Oregon States assistant coach Dave Grace, who will shares with us his journey into the college coaching ranks, an overview of his college coaching career thus far as well as his perspective on basketball at all levels so get your basketball thinking caps on and enjoy HOOPSREPORT’S EXCLUSIVE “One on One” with Oregon States assistant coach Dave Grace, enjoy.
JM: What’s up big Dave, how’s life in Corvallis, AKA: Beaver Country?
DG: I'm really enjoying my time here in Corvallis, Oregon. I work for a great
University and more importantly a great Boss in Craig Robinson. What has made it so special here is that we have been able to completely turn around an 0-18 League play team into a conference contender.
JM: Let’s talk about your coaching career, share with us a little bit about how you broke into the “High Major” coaching ranks.
DG: Well first of all my story is different from any other Division I college
assistant coach as I spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force on active duty. I also
served in Desert Storm. I started coaching in Boo Williams AAU program while
stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. I received an assignment to Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona continued my coaching once I got there. While in Phoenix I helped start the Arizona Magic AAU program and became a HS Freshman coach at Trevor Browne High school all awhile still in the U.S. Air Force. We had great success on both levels which caused us to gain the attention of College coaches. In 2003 I retired from the Air Force and shortly after I was hired as the head boys basketball coach and Business Applications teacher at South Mountain high school in Phoenix, Arizona. Before I arrived, the school was 4-17. After two short years we finished with a 29-4 record and the 5A DII State Championship. Then I was contacted by Sacramento State University to become one of their assistant Basketball coaches and I quickly accepted. After one season the University of San Francisco called with a job offer as an assistant coach and I accepted their coaching position. While at the University of San Francisco head coach Jesse Evans was placed on leave and Eddie Sutton came on board which meant that there would be some immediate changes once the season ended. Once the season ended a good friend of mine Bill Johnson knew Craig Robinson who just got the job at Oregon State University. Bill Johnson then contacted coach Robinson and gave a recommendation for an assistant coaching position which after a period of time led to my being hired.
JM: Now that you’ve arrived as a college coach, how would you categorize your coaching experience thus far?
DG: My coaching experience has been truly rewarding as I’ve been able to make a difference in the lives of student-athletes. I have been able to live out a life-long dream which is to help others through basketball.
JM: How would you describe your coaching style?
DG: My style is the ability to have our student-athletes perform at a high level on and off the court to achieve excellence.
JM: Dave, I’ve been knowing you for a little while now and one of the things that stand out to me the most is your ability to not only connect with players but your ability to draw the attention and relate to players which a lot of coaches lack, elaborate if you will.
DG: I have been really blessed with the ability to communicate well with our
Student-athletes. The key to any successful group or team, is effective
JM: Dave, it seems everywhere I go, no matter which part of the country you have quite a few supporters to go along with your ability to connect with top national prospects which to me says a lot about you as a person and in knowing that I’m certain that you would make an outstanding head coach, is being a head coach something that you would consider if the opportunity arose in the future or are you content with your current position?
DG: Yes, my goal is to not only become a DI coach, I desire to be among the best!
JM: Seeing how basketball has changed in the past ten years with grassroots basketball at an all time high as well as college basketball and with the NBA having a bit of a setback with the lock-out which lasted a little over a month before getting back to business, what’s your take on today’s basketball?
DG: I think it has changed with AAU and the “Me First” generation, but all in all, it’s still a game that I have an undying love for.
JM: Coach this is the part of the interview where I’d like to ask you if you have any shout outs?
DG: First of all, I would like to shout out to you, as you were the one to ask me
to coach your AAU program called the “Arizona Slam” back in 1998.There are so many people who have helped me along the way like my wife Crystal and my children along with my parents. The person that got me into coaching is Carl Harris, he and I were stationed at Langley, AFB. In no particular order Ron Goodwyn, Mike Ellsworth, Etop Udo Ema, Anthony Ray, Chad Groth, Jerome Jenkins, Jesse Evans, Craig Robinson, Boo Williams, Keely Mims, Don Davigon, Ray Ealy, Ernest Pouncey, Vern Holmes, all of the players and assistant coaches. My brothers and sisters, my uncles and cousins. The list could go on and on! I'm sure I left some people out, sorry about that.
JM: Coach I really appreciate you taking the time to give our HOOPSREPORT faithful an exclusive interview with whom I feel is definitely one of the country’s top assistant D1 coaches in America and a future top head coach. Keep up the great work and we will continue to follow you here at HOOPSREPORT.
DG: I would like to thank you for all your kind words and for taking time out for this interview, It truly means so much to me!
I hope you enjoyed our EXCLUSIVE "One on One" interview with Oregon States assistant coach Dave Grace. Be sure to stay logged on for future HOOPSREPORTS articles including: 2016-2018 National Player Rankings, National HS Top 25 Team Rankings and HOOPSREPORT’S National HS Player of the Year Award.
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