Chris Graves named new Birmingham-Southern head basketball coach

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College has named Chris Graves as its new Head Men's Basketball Coach, Athletics Director Joe Dean, Jr., announced today. Graves steps into the position after serving as Assistant Coach for three seasons under Mitch Cole, who resigned yesterday to take an Assistant Coach position at a major Division I program.

Graves has helped guide BSC to success at the Division III level since the program rebuilt after not even fielding a team in the 2006-07 season. This past year, the Panthers had one of the most successful seasons in program history, winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season title and the NCAA Provisional Tournament, amassing a 23-4 record. In the 2009-10 season, BSC won a share of the SCAC East Division title and went 20-5.

"We are very fortunate to have a person and coach of Chris Graves' caliber right here on our staff to continue the tradition of winning basketball at Birmingham-Southern," Dean said. "Chris has seven years of college experience and has a remarkable record of achievement as a high school head coach as well. He has been an integral part of our program the past three seasons, two of which have resulted in conference championships. We look forward to moving forward under Chris' leadership."

Graves came to BSC in the spring of 2008 from Pell City High School, where he was Head Coach for two years, helping PCHS to the most wins in school history. Prior to that, he was Head Coach at Columbia Central High School in Tennessee for three years. Graves' high school teams won at least 20 games a season under his direction, and he was twice named District Coach of the Year. Graves, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, also served as an assistant coach at the college level for five years, including time at his alma mater, John Brown University, the University of Arkansas, and Tennessee State University. He is a 1999 graduate of John Brown University in Arkansas, and he earned his Master's Degree from the University of Arkansas.

"I would like to thank BSC President General Charles Krulak, Joe Dean, my family, and the entire Panther community for this great opportunity," Graves said. "I consider it an honor to be named the head basketball coach of this outstanding program. Birmingham-Southern basketball has a rich history of championship level basketball, coupled with a history of producing some of the brightest graduates you will find. We return the core of a conference championship team next season, and I am excited about the things in store for this program. I challenge people to support our program. It represents everything that is right about college basketball. Finally, I would like to thank Coach Mitch Cole for his outstanding leadership. He is a great coach, and he is an even greater person of faith, family, and character."