Special to the Tribune-Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ill. —
Matthew Graves waited patiently for nine years as a member of the Butler men’s basketball staff for his chance to be a head coach.
Interviews at several colleges did not pan out, and when highly-regarded Brad Stevens spurned college programs from UCLA to Minnesota this spring it appeared he may never leave Butler. Graves, a White River Valley graduate, finally got his overdue chance when he was hired as the head coach at South Alabama in March.
As luck would have it, Stevens departed Butler earlier this month to take over as head coach of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.
Graves said he was not a candidate for the job after Stevens left and that it “wouldn’t be right” to turn his back on USA after being given his cherished chance.
“Who knows if there would have been any interest on [Butler’s] part?” Graves told the Indianapolis Star. “You never know what the future is going to hold. I’m very excited about the opportunity that’s being presented here at South Alabama and really looking forward to what the future has to hold here.”
Former Bulldog players/assistant coaches Darnell Archey and Ronald Nored, as well as recent Linton-Stockton grad Austin Karazsia, have uprooted their Indiana lives to join Graves in Alabama.
“You’ve got families that have come down here with me on our coaching staff and you’ve got friends of mine who are on the coaching staff there currently at Butler,” Graves told Al.com.
“There are just a lot of different pieces for people to sort through. But at the end of the day I’m really excited about being here and seeing where we can go with this program.’’
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• Academic honors given — Numerous Valley athletes received academic honors for the last school year.
Terre Haute South’s A.J. Reed was one of 71 spring sports athletes from the University of Kentucky to earn a spot on the Southeastern Conference Spring Sports Academic Honor Roll for having a 3.0 GPA.
Reed will be a junior next year, and majors in communications and math education.
Indiana State football players earning the Missouri Valley Football Conference President’s Council Academic Excellence Award were Logan Buske and Michael Mardis (Terre Haute South), Travis Johnson (Marshall) and Chris O’Leary (Terre Haute North).
They have all earned a 3.5 GPA through the fall 2012 semester.
Others on the Missouri Valley Football Conference Honor Roll, for having a 3.0 GPA, were Buske, O’Leary, Mardis and Johnson as well as Dakota Vermillion of Terre Haute North, Tsali Lough of Terre Haute South, Trent Lancaster of Northview.
• Wolfe takes visit — Casey-Westfield incoming senior basketball sharpshooter Brandon Wolfe visited Division II University of Indianapolis this week.
• Weatherford on list — Eastern Illinois junior punter Scott Weatherford has been named to the College Football Performance Awards preseason punters watch list.
Weatherford took over the punter duties last fall averaging 37.6 yards per punt. He pinned a quarter of his punt attempts (12-of-48) inside the 20-yard line. Weatherford had three punts of more than 50 yards with a long of 62 against Tennessee State. He also had a 60-yard punt against Tennessee Tech.
• Wood among best in world — Zionsville’s Adam Wood won the Indiana State boys championship last month, then immediately boarded a plant to represent the U.S. in the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup.
He is the son of former Terre Haute resident Kris Heck Wood, and was one of four players competing for the U.S. in the tourney. Wood placed ninth individually in leading the USA to a sixth-place finish.
Wood will play collegiately for Duke after completing his senior season at Zionsville next year.
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.