Kelly Graves has become a coaching icon at the University of Oregon in just five years.
During that time, he has transformed the Duck women’s team into a national powerhouse, while first recruiting and then coaching Sabrina Ionescu, who won every player-of-the-year award possible this season.
And he turned that program around rapidly, just as he did at the other stops along the way in his coaching journey to Eugene, Oregon.
Where did this man come from? How did he start? Was his wish always to coach women?
Well, Graves’ trip to coaching success is surprising and interesting. He didn’t serve an apprenticeship under a big-time coach or learn his craft at a blue-chip program. He was more of a small-town guy who played his own basketball at a junior college in Idaho and then at New Mexico. He got his coaching start at Big Bend CC in Moses Lake, Wash., and I think it’s fair to say that’s not exactly the cradle of coaches. And he was coaching men, not women.
But you’re going to want to hear Graves tell his own story, complete with video, of his days on campus when he had both hair and a Wendy’s cheeseburger commercial.
And he’ll even surprise you a little bit, perhaps, with his answer to a question about someday coaching a men’s team.
This really wasn’t an interview, it was just a conversation between two bald guys. And I think you will love it.
Be sure to listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.