By Ron Wynn

NASHVILLE, TN — Vanderbilt head basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse’s staff was reduced last week. An announcement that initially surfaced online last Monday night was subsequently confirmed laster in the week by the university. Former assistants David Grace and Ricardo Patton will not be returning to the team for the 2020-21 season. The more unusual thing about this move was that these were the two most experienced coaches on the 12-member staff.  

Grace’s roles with the Commodores included recruiting coordination, scouting opponents, practice planning, skill development, player behavior, and academics. He joined the Commodores staff after serving as an assistant coach between 2007 and 2018 at San Francisco, Oregon State, UCLA, and California, respectively. Patton, a Nashville native who was a top player at both Hume Fogg and Belmont, served as head coach at Colorado from 1996-2007. He began his coaching career in Nashville at Two Rivers Middle School in 1985.

At press time there was no word regarding if or when these two would be replaced, or whether their duties might be rotated within the remaining staff. However given the excitement over recent Vanderbilt signings and the improvement that the squad showed down the stretch, there’s quite a bit of anticipation regarding coach Stackhouse’s second season. Now that the onus of a record conference losing streak is gone, it will be intriguing to see if the Commodores can return to a position as a contender for either regular season or SEC Tournament honors, as well as an NCAA Tournament berth.