In the sport of football, he was a college head coach for seven seasons: at Alabama (1911–1914), Texas A&M (1918), and the Agricultural College of the State of Montana—now Montana State University (1920–1921), compiling a career record of 32–18–4. In basketball, he served as a head coach for six years: at Alabama (1912–1915), Texas A&M (1915–1916), and Montana Agricultural (1920–1922). At Washington, he was a longtime assistant coach in football and basketball, and later an assistant athletic director.
After several years of playing baseball in the minors, he coached football at Alabama, Texas A&M, and what is now Montana State. From 1911 to 1914, he led the Alabama program to a 21–12–3 record. In his only season at Texas A&M in 1918, he compiled a 6–1 record. At Montana Agricultural in Bozeman, he had a 5–5–1 record over two seasons. While head coach of the baseball team at Washington, Graves also served as an assistant coach in football to several coaches.
Graves was a head basketball coach for six seasons, the first three at Alabama, where he was the program's first coach and compiled a record of 20–12 (.625) from 1912 to 1915. He later headed the Texas A&M program for a season and two at Montana Agricultural. At Washington, he was an assistant coach for 24 seasons under head coach Hec Edmundson. Graves had met Edmundson at Idaho when they were undergraduate athletes, and both were head coaches at Texas A&M in the spring of 1919, Edmundson in track and Graves in baseball.
While visiting Pullman in the spring of 1959, Graves fell and broke a hip. That December, he was hospitalized in Seattle for treatment of a liver ailment and died several weeks later in January 1960 at age 73. He is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Seattle, about a mile (1.6 km) northeast of the university.
The UW athletic office building (1964) and the two former baseball fields (through 1997) were named for Graves; he was posthumously inducted into the Big W Club, the UW athletics hall of fame, in 1980.
National champion Postseason invitational champion Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and conference tournament champion Division regular season champion Division regular season and conference tournament champion Conference tournament champion