The debacle that is UCLA Basketball continues as reports have surfaced that UCLA Assistant Coach David Grace is out at UCLA.
According to Bruin Report Online, Grace was fired and basically brings to a head the long reported struggles that Grace and Alford have had.
Ben Bolch of the LA Times, who has been critical of Steve Alford throughout the season, has jumped on this story and psoted a series of tweets on it. He is reporting that Grace was notified shortly before the Final Four that he would not be retained.
Spoke with David Grace. He said he was notified shortly before the Final Four that he would not be retained despite his massive recruiting success over his five years as a UCLA assistant: "To contribute the way I did and feel like this was happening just blows my mind."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
Then, to make matters worse, Steve Alford, apparently, told Grace that Dan Guerrero wanted him replaced, but Grace asked Guerrero about it and supposedly denied it.
David Grace on what Steve Alford told him about not being retained at UCLA: "He said that Dan [Guerrero] wanted to make the change and the next day I talked to Dan and Dan said he never told him to make a coaching change, so I don’t know where that came from."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
David Grace on his dismissal at UCLA: "I was very shocked and [Alford] even said I’d done a great job and he just wanted to go a different direction. He even prayed about it in the thing. He wanted to pray about it when he was telling me I had to get another job."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
David Grace continued on his dismissal: "This was a tremendous shock, the fact that the job I was given to be as the recruiting recruiting coordinator, four of the five years we had top-five recruiting classes. That didn’t always happen there and it’s definitely a shame."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
David Grace on the FBI: "I’m going to get a letter from UCLA stating that it had nothing to do with it. If you notice, out of all the Adidas schools and the [non]-Adidas schools, we’re the only one that weren’t implicated and it’s because I don’t do that and we don’t do that."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
David Grace on not skirting NCAA rules in his recruiting: "My 20 years of experience in the Air Force and all that, I have great integrity in what I do."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
Steve Alford, when I asked him on signing day (Wednesday) if any of his assistant coaches were leaving: "That I don’t know. Obviously, I just want the best for my staff and if they can advance in what they do then I’m always behind them 100% on that."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
Wait...what? So, first, Alford tells Grace he’s not being retained before the Final Four, but, as of Wednesday, no coaches were leaving? That makes Alford a bold-faced liar.
David Grace said he remains under contract at UCLA through the end of June. I have reached out to UCLA for a response to what he said about his dismissal and will post ASAP.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
David Grace noted that he did more than recruit, mentioning his scouting responsibilities and on-the-floor coaching.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 14, 2018
Meanwhile, Jeff Goodman of ESPN, who broke the story first, is reporting that Grace will be replaced by Murry Bartow, son of former UCLA coach Gene Bartow.
UCLA coach Steve Alford making move with his staff, source told ESPN. Likely bringing in former UAB/ETSU head coach Murray Bartow to replace assistant David Grace -- who was in mix for head job at Fresno. Grace should find a spot quickly, got most of players at UCLA.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 14, 2018
It is common knowledge that David Grace is an elite recruiter with deep ties to the Compton Magic AAU team. David Grace is a prime reason that the UCLA Bruins are bringing in the No. 2 ranked class, according to ESPN.
Grace has been in the Pac-12 for 10 years of coaching where he is one of the longest-tenured coaches. Grace has been coaching with the UCLA Bruins since 2013 after previously serving an assistant coach for the Oregon State Beavers.
As Goodman’s tweet shares, Grace is expected to be replaced by Murry Bartow, son of Gene Bartow, the UCLA coach that replaced college basketball coaching legend, John Wooden.
Murry Bartow has had head coaching stops at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, East Tennessee State University, and most recently an interim coach in 2017 at the
University of South Florida.
In Bartow’s 19 years of NCAA coaching experience, he has led teams to the NCAA Tournament a grand total of four times. So, Alford appears to be bringing in someone that makes his NCAA tournament record look phenomenal.
This is definitely a blow to the UCLA Bruins. To lose Grace and his ability to recruit will not be able to be replaced easily.
Go Bruins. Fire Alford!!!