Vanderbilt basketball is losing assistant coaches David Grace and Ricardo Patton, moves that were sudden and unexpected given the timing of this unusual recruiting season. Simon Gibbs of The Vanderbilt Hustler was first to break this surprising news. While Vanderbilt confirmed the coaching departures, no official reason or statement was given.
After Jerry Stackhouse was named head coach on April 5, 2019, Grace was the first assistant he hired on April 16. Grace would serve as the associate head coach and the team’s top recruiter in his year with the Commodores.
Given his extensive role, his departure is particularly shocking for Commodore fans. Grace came to Vandy with many years of experience as an assistant coach on the West Coast. His coaching history includes stops at Sacramento State, San Francisco, Oregon State, UCLA, and California.
While at UCLA, he gained a reputation as an elite recruiter in helping land four top five classes while the Bruins compiled a 117-57 record. In 2016, he was ranked seventh nationally as a recruiter and the top recruiter in the West according to an ESPN coaching survey. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was named as one of 50 high major division one coaches who are making a huge impact in men’s basketball according to Silver Waves Media.
Patton served as a senior advisor to Stackhouse. He came to the Commodores with 15 years of head coaching experience, most notably 11 years at Colorado and more recently four with Northern Illinois. Patton has a long history in Middle Tennessee. He grew up in Nashville, graduated from Hume-Fogg and went on to become a Hall of Fame player at Belmont. He also served as an assistant coach at both MTSU and TSU before coaching at Colorado.
As Vandy fans digest this news, we will have to wait and see when and if the university sheds anymore light on the circumstances that led to the coaching departures, and whether replacements will be hired. Meanwhile, the program and fans continue to monitor potential recruits and transfers, most notably Romello White from Arizona State.