Gonzaga University head coach Kelly Graves tackled his first coaching assignment with USA Basketball as an assistant for the 2012 USA U18 National Team that claimed gold in Puerto Rico, and on†Jan. 29, 2013, USA Basketball announded Graves would return to assist with the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team.
ďIím thrilled about this,Ē said Graves. ďLast year, the entire experience was one of the greatest things Iíve ever done. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Working with Katie and Nikki was phenomenal. I learned so much from them, and Iím actually using a few of the things that we ran. Iíve had some success with it this year. Itís been nice to keep in touch with them, and I consider them good friends as well as colleagues. I loved it, and Iím really looking forward to doing it again.Ē
Currently in the middle of his 13th season as a NCAA Division I head coach, Graves through 21 games this season has piloted Gonzaga to a 16-5 mark (all records as of 1/28/13), including a 6-1 slate in West Coast Conference play. In all, he owns a 342-156 record (.687 winning percentage), including 276-130 mark at Gonzaga, and has guided teams to six NCAA Tournaments, advancing as far as the 2011 Elite Eight and 2010 and 2012 Sweet Sixteen, as well as four WNITs.
After spending his first two seasons rebuilding a program that had not posted a winning record since 1993-94, Graves in 2002-03 guided the Zags to an 18-12 mark. The following season Gonzaga again went 18-12 and this time earned a 2004 WNIT bid, the programís second postseason tournament ever.
Since 2004, Graves and Gonzaga have earned eight-straight West Coast Conference regular season titles and captured four WCC Tournament titles over the past six years. Additionally, Graves has coached Gonzaga to a total of eight postseason appearances, three in the WNIT and five NCAAs, including the schoolís first NCAA bid in 2007.
After leading Gonzaga to a then-program record 28 victories in 2004-05 and the programís first NCAA Tournament win in 2009, Graves and the Zags upped the wins record to 29 in 2009-10 as the team advanced to the 2010 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and finished 29-5. That also marked the furthest the program had ever advanced in the NCAA Tournament.
In his most successful season to date, Graves guided Gonzaga in 2010-11 to a new school record for victories as it finished 31-5, including a 21-game winning streak. Further, the Zags, who went 14-0 in conference games, advanced to the 2011 NCAA Elite Eight.
This past season Graves and Gonzaga finished with a 28-6 mark and again marched to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Gravesí accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as he has been tabbed the WCC Coach of the Year six times (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011).
Graves got his coaching start as the head coach for Big Bean Community College (1989-90 through 1991-92), before spending five years (1992-93 through 1996-97) as an assistant coach at the University of Portland. Graves first entered the WCC as a head coach at Saint Maryís College (1997-98 through 1999-2000), where he guided the Gaels to a 66-26 overall record, and appearances in the 1999 NCAA Tournament and the 2000 WNIT.