March 25, 2013

Matthew Graves Named Head Coach At South Alabama

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Associate Head Coach Matthew Graves is departing Butler University after 17 years in the basketball program as a player, staff member and coach.  Graves was introduced as the new men's basketball head coach at South Alabama at a press conference in Mobile, Ala., on Monday, March 25.

Graves has spent the last decade on the coaching staff at Butler, including the past three years as Associate Head Coach.  He also served for two years as Coordinator of Basketball Operations, and he was a top player for the Bulldogs, 1993-98.  During his time as a player, staff member and coach, Butler made nine NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back trips to the national championship game in 2010 and 2011.

Butler's teams that included Graves as a player, staff member or coach compiled a 392-164 record!  The teams that he helped coach posted a 244-98 record over 10 seasons.

"I could not be more thrilled for both Matthew and South Alabama.  He is a terrific person and coach, who will undoubtedly bring great credit to the University," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who worked side-by-side with Graves for the past 12 years.  "He is an excellent communicator who understands what it takes to win at the highest level.  We thank him for the 17 total years that he spent at Butler as a player and staff member.  He had a tremendous impact on Butler Basketball."

Graves, who had a five-year playing career for the Bulldogs (he missed most of one season because of injury), returned to Butler in 2001 as Coordinator of Basketball Operations under head coach Todd Lickliter.  He became an assistant coach under Lickliter in 2003 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2010.  He was recognized as one of the "Top 10" Mid-Major Assistants by FoxSports.com in 2008 and in 2009, CollegeInsider.com ranked him No. 2 on its list of "Top 25 Mid-Major Assistants.

Graves was a four-year basketball letterwinner at Butler.  He was the Bulldogs' third-leading scorer in 1996-97, while helping Butler to a conference championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 35 years.  The following season, he was named Butler's most valuable player, while the Bulldogs repeated as league champion and made a return trip to the NCAA Tournament.  He led the conference in free throw shooting in 1997-98, and he was named to the 1998 league All-Tournament team.

The Butler guard finished his playing career in second place on the school's all-time list for three-point field goals with 175 and in third place on the Bulldogs' all-time list for free throw shooting (.846).  He scored a career-high 42 points against Cleveland State as a senior (and he remains the last Butler player to score 40 points in a game), and he finished his Butler career with 994 points.

A GTE Academic All-America selection in 1997-98, Graves earned a B.S. degree in education (chemistry) from Butler in 1998 and a master's degree in education administration from Butler in 2003.  He and his wife, Susan, have two daughters, Abigail and Lillian.