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Cal Basketball: Former Two-Time Sweet 16 Star Al Grigsby Has A New Job at Seattle U

Grigsby played six memorable but injured-riddled seasons for the Golden Bears.

Al Grigsby, whose six-year Cal basketball career linked the Bears’ two most recent appearances in the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16, has been hired as assistant athletic director for development at the University of Seattle.

Grigsby, 49, has spent much of the past two decades working as a sales and business development executive for a pharmaceutical firm.

But he was hired by Seattle’s athletic department last September to serve as an assistant to the Redhawks’ head basketball coach. His son Riley plays on the team, which assembled a 23-9 record this past season.

*** In this story, from December 2020, Grigsby talks about his son and compares Cal's two Sweet 16 teams.

"I am thrilled to have Al Grigsby join our team," said Lindsey Scott-Anderson, Seattle U associate AD for development. "As a decorated former college student athlete, he understands first-hand the impact of sport on a young person's life. His professional and athletics experience will have an incredible impact in our Redhawk community.”

Grigsby came to Cal from Houston as a freshman forward in 1991-92 and remained on the team six seasons, notable for a gruesome list of injuries to his back, knee, ankle, hamstring and buttocks.

He played alongside the likes of Jason Kidd, Lamond Murray, Brian Hendrick, Tony Gonzalez, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ed Gray, Sean Marks and Randy Duck.

Coach Lou Campanelli recruited Grigsby to Cal from Houston, but Todd Bozeman took over midseason the next year when the Bears, led by Kidd and Murray, upset two-time defending national champion Duke to reach the 1993 Sweet 16. The Bears hadn’t advanced so deep into the tournament since 1960.

Then, after injuries shelved him for all but 19 games the next three seasons, a healthy Grigsby anchored Ben Braun’s debut team of 1996-97, which won twice in the NCAAs before losing to North Carolina in the regional semifinals.

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Grigsby missed 73 of the 175 games the Bears played those six seasons, but he delivered in the two Sweet 16 appearances, averaging 8.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in those six postseason games. He had 11 points and 13 rebounds in the second-round win over Villanova in 1997.

Grigsby, who graduated from Cal with a degree in American Studies, had his jersey No. 4 retired by the university in tribute to his toughness and perseverance.

After a five-year professional career playing in Japan, Grigsby has done some coaching, including stints on the staff of the women’s team at Mission College and the men’s staff at Gavilan College.

He served as a coach and mentor with South Bay-based West Valley Basketball Club for most of two decades, where he also developed fundraising programs to support underprivileged youth and community outreach.

Grigsby said he’s excited about his new role.

"Coaching has been a tremendous experience and opportunity for me, but I feel I can do so much more to contribute to Seattle University, a place that has done and will continue to do so much for all current and future student athletes," he said. 

"I look forward to helping the team continue to grow our development programs and give our students the opportunity to be successful athletes and people.”

Cover photo of Al Grigsby courtesy of Seattle U Athletics

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo