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Grace takes over Neal basketball

By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
While every coach will admit he/she has to have a certain amount of talent in order to have success, new W.S. Neal Blue Eagles basketball coach Robbie Grace admits there are other ways to achieve wins.
Grace comes to W.S. Neal via Oneonta High School where he served as the head baseball coach and assistant football coach on last fall's Class 3A state championship team.
While Grace did not coach basketball at Oneonta, he had previously served as the head boys basketball coach at Warrior Academy in Utah. He had also served as a freshmen basketball coach at McAdore High School and assistant girls and junior high boys basketball coach at Moody.
Grace is W.S. Neal's fourth different head basketball coach in as many years. The Blue Eagles went 5-22 under David McCollum's direction last season. McCollum has since accepted a coaching position at Walker High School.
Grace knows his personnel will dictate what style he plays, but he does prefer an uptempo style.
Grace admits the Blue Eagles were slightly behind in their summer work at the time of his hiring.
Grace, whose teams won 48 games the last two baseball seasons, will join head football coach Blaine Hathcock's staff as secondary coach. Grace had coached outside linebackers and wide receivers at Oneonta.
Grace indicated it should not be a big adjustment switching from outside linebackers/wide receivers to secondary.
Although Oneonta is more than 200 miles away, Graces got a good sample of what Class 3A Region 1 (where W.S. Neal competes) has to offer last fall. Oneonta defeated three straight Region 1 members (Straughn, Pike County and T.R. Miller) in rounds two through four before it defeated Winfield for the state title.