Written by Sam King - email@example.com
Gail Gripe first became intrigued with Scott Graves on the volleyball court when he was a fiery 16-year-old competing for Gripe's Lafayette Jeff boys volleyball team.
In recent years, she groomed him to be a head coach.
Her retirement as Bronchos head coach after 30 seasons left an opening. On Thursday, Graves was hired to fill it.
"For me to be able to coach at my alma mater, it's really special," said Graves, a 1998 Jeff graduate. "There's been job openings in various places in surrounding counties. My goal wasn't to go somewhere else. I love volleyball, I'm passionate about coaching, but I am exactly where I want to be."
Graves has been an assistant on the Bronchos staff since 2004 and spent the last two seasons as associate head coach. He teaches social studies at Jeff.
Gripe informed athletic director Mark Preston after she retired that she hoped Graves would be her successor. The athletic department opened up the job, and Graves went through the interview process.
"We are very excited about Scott leading our volleyball program," Preston said in a release. "He is extremely passionate about Jeff volleyball and has a clear vision for the program that starts at the elementary level.
"In addition, Scott has worked within the Jeff volleyball program at the club, junior high and high school levels over the past nine years. His familiarity with the program, the school and our student-athletes will make for an easy transition for all."
Previously, Graves worked with current West Lafayette coach Chad Marshall for the Purdue women's club program.
"I was hoping this would happen," Gripe said. "I am proud he earned it on his own. Mark Preston knew all along who my first choice was.
"Going through the interview process, I knew he would come up on top, and he did."
Lafayette Jeff was 10-20 last season and loses five seniors, including four-year starter Breanna Calloway.
But Graves believes he'll inherit a talented bunch.
"We're losing pretty special seniors," Graves said, "... but our returning seniors have varsity experience. There are girls who are juniors with varsity experience. It's a nice mixture of veterans and newcomers. I think we're going to be competitive."