Kelly Graves

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Kelly Graves
Kelly Graves at Bridgeport Arena.jpg
Graves March 2017 as Oregon head coach (Bridgeport Regional vs. UConn)
Sport(s) Women's basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Oregon
Conference Pac-12
Record 60–41 (.594)
Biographical details
Born (1963-01-14) January 14, 1963 (age 54)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Playing career
1983–1985 Ricks JC
1985–1987 New Mexico
Position(s) Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1988–1989 New Mexico (men's GA)
1989–1992 Big Bend CC
1992–1996 Portland (asst.)
1996–1997 Saint Mary's (asst.)
1997–2000 Saint Mary's
2000–2014 Gonzaga
2014–present Oregon

Kelly Lee Graves (born January 14, 1963)[1] is the current head women's basketball coach at the University of Oregon. Previously, Graves was the head women's basketball coach at St. Mary's from 1997 to 2000, as well as Gonzaga University from 2000 to 2014. He was formerly an assistant coach for the Portland Pilots (1994–1997) and St. Mary Gaels, where he later got his first head coaching stint with the Gaels from 1997–2000.[2] From the 2004–2005 season to the 2013–2014 season, he guided Gonzaga to ten consecutive West Coast Conference regular season titles. The 2007 team went 13-1 in conference play, and later won the WCC conference tournament. The school also received its first ever NCAA tournament appearance. He was named WCC co-coach of the year for his accomplishments. In 2005, 2010, and 2011, Gonzaga went undefeated in WCC regular season play.[2]


In 2005, Gonzaga was ranked 23rd in the nation, which was its highest ranking ever in the polls. At the end of the 2009–2010 season, the Zags was ranked 12th in the final poll, which was their highest ranking ever in the polls. At the end of the 2010–2011 season, the Zags was ranked 8th in the final poll, which is their highest ranking ever in the polls.[3]

Regular Season by years[edit]

St. Mary's Gaels (1997–2000)[edit]

Graves led the Gaels to a winning season in the first season of coaching with a 19-9, 9-4 in WCC play, tied for fourth in the conference. The next year, Graves led the Gaels to their first ever NCAA tournament with a 27-7 record and tied for 1st in the WCC regular season conference. In his final year as coach of the Gaels, Graves led the Gaels to a NIT tournament and lost in the second round.[4]

Gonzaga Bulldogs (2000–2014)[edit]

In April 2000, Graves was named head coach for Gonzaga. In his 14 years as coach for the Bulldogs, Graves turned the program from a last-place finish in the WCC to a national contender.[5] For the past 10 years, Gonzaga have won or co-shared the regular season WCC title and the last six out of seven years, Gonzaga had made it into the NCAA tournament, with the WCC first ever at-large bid in the 2011–2012 basketball season.[6] On April 7, 2014, Oregon named Graves as their head coach.[7] On April 14, 2014, assistant coach Lisa Mispley Fortier succeeded Graves as head coach.[8]

Oregon Ducks (2014–present)[edit]

On April 7, 2014, Oregon named Graves as their head coach, succeeding Paul Westhead, who was let go at the end of the 2013–14 season.[7]
The Ducks finished Graves' first season as head coach with a 13-17 record, 6-12 in the Pac-12, which was Graves' first losing season since his second year as head coach for the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the 2001–2002 season.
The Ducks finished Graves' second season with a 24-11 record and made it to the WNIT semi-finals, where they lost to eventual champion South Dakota Coyotes 88-54.

WCC and NCAA Tournament[edit]

2006–07 Season and Gonzaga's First NCAA Tournament Appearance[edit]

In the 2006–2007 season in West Coast Conference play, Gonzaga guided to a 13-1 record in conference play. The lone loss was against Pepperdine at McCarthey Athletic Center. In the middle of the season, future All-American Courtney Vandersloot signed with the Zags.
In the WCC tournament, Gonzaga defeated Portland, San Francisco, and LMU to go to their first ever NCAA tournament.
In the NCAA tournament, Gonzaga played against Middle Tennessee State and they suffered an 85-46 loss at Stanford, where they finished their season with a 24-10 record.

2008–09 Season and Gonzaga's First NCAA Tournament Victory[edit]

A couple of years later in the 2008–2009 season in WCC play, Gonzaga guided with a 12-2 record in conference play, with a loss to Portland at home and Pepperdine on the road.
In the WCC tournament, Gonzaga defeated LMU and San Diego to go to their second NCAA tournament.
In the 2009 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, Graves guided Gonzaga to its first ever NCAA tournament victory over Xavier 74-59 at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle, WA. They would unfortunately lose to University of Pittsburgh 65-60 in the second round.

2009–10 Season and Gonzaga's First Ever Sweet 16[edit]

In the 2009–10 season in West Coast Conference play, forward Heather Bowman broke the WCC and Gonzaga women's basketball school record of 2,133 points during the 2009–2010 season.[9] Gonzaga went undefeated in West Coast Conference with a perfect 14-0 record and unbeaten in West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas, NV.
In the 2010 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, Graves guided Gonzaga to an 82-76 first round victory over Hall of Fame coach Sylvia Hatchell's University of North Carolina Tar Heels women's basketball team and a 72-71 second-round victory over Gary Blair's Texas A&M Aggies women's basketball team on Vivian Frieson's game winning shot with 15 seconds left in the game. This marks the first appearance in the Sweet 16 for the Zags. Gonzaga played against Xavier women's basketball team and lost 74-56 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento.

2010–11 and Gonzaga's Magical Run in the NCAA Tournament[edit]

The next year, Gonzaga went undefeated in West Coast Conference with a perfect 14-0 record for the second year in a row and unbeaten in the WCC tournament in Las Vegas, NV.
In the 2011 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament, Graves guided Gonzaga to a 92-86 victory over Lisa Bluder's University of Iowa women's basketball team and a 89-75 victory over Nikki Caldwell's UCLA Bruins. Both games were held at the McCarthey Athletic Center. In the UCLA game, senior guard Courtney Vandersloot became the first Division I women's or men's basketball player to score 2,000 points and tally 1,000 assists in their career.[10] The Zags won 76-69 over Jeff Walz's Louisville Cardinals to set up their first ever Elite 8 matchup against Tara Vanderveer's Stanford Cardinals. Gonzaga's season ended with an 83-60 loss and the loss ended Courtney Vandersloot's magical career. At the end of the season, the University of Washington was interested in hiring Graves for head coach, but Graves wasn't interested in the job and he decides to stay with Gonzaga.[11] At the end of March 2011, Gonzaga signed an extension for Kelly Graves to coach the women's team until the 2020–2021 season.

The Post Vandersloot Era and 2012 NCAA Tournament[edit]

The next year, the Zags went through the conference with a 14-2 with their first WCC loss in nearly three years at home to St. Mary's and a 30-point loss to Jeff Judkins' BYU Cougars, which is their biggest loss in nearly 10 years.[12] The Zags won against the St. Mary's Gaels and lost to the BYU Cougars. The Cougars were automatically selected to the NCAA Tournament, while the Zags had to wait and see if they are in the tournament or not.
Since Gonzaga is one of 16 locations to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, Gonzaga was picked as a #11 seed in the Kingston region as an at-large bid, the first in WCC women's basketball history. This is Gonzaga's fourth consecutive NCAA tournament. The Zags defeated Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer's Rutgers Scarlet Knights 86-73 and a 65-54 victory over Katie Meier's Miami Hurricanes to make their third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Both games were held at the McCarthey Athletic Center.[13][14] Gonzaga lost to Matthew Mitchell (basketball coach)'s Kentucky Wildcats 79-62 to end their season on 28-6.[15]

2012–13 Season and 2013 NCAA Tournament[edit]

The next year, Gonzaga went 15-1 in conference play with the lone loss at St. Mary's by a final of 54-51. Gonzaga picked up their ninth consecutive regular crown with a 66-55 win over BYU at their homecourt, where the Zags will be the #1 seed in the WCC tournament.[16]
Gonzaga defeated BYU 62-43 and defeated San Diego 62-50 to win their fifth WCC Tournament title and they are guaranteed to play at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where they will host Bill Fennelly's Iowa State Cyclones.
The Zags played against Iowa State in a sold out crowd of 6,000; mostly Zags fans. The Zags lost to the Cyclones 72-60, which ended their 15-game winning streak, four straight NCAA Tournament victories at McCarthey Athletic Center, and four consecutive first round victories.[17] The Zags ended the year with a 27-6 record.[17]

2013–14 Regular Season/Kelly Graves' Final Season at Gonzaga and 2014 NCAA Tournament[edit]

The next year, Gonzaga went 10-2 in non-conference. The biggest highlight in non-conference was the Ohio State game at Value City Arena, where Shaniqua Nilles scored the final four points of the game for the Zags, including the game winning jumper as time expired, where the Zags escaped with a 59-58 win.[18] The Zags went 16-2 in conference play with both losses on the road at St. Mary's by a final of 79-78 in overtime on December 28, which was the start of West Coast Conference and at BYU on February 15 by a final of 62-52. Gonzaga picked up their tenth consecutive regular season crown with a 75-65 win over Saint Mary's at McCarthey Athletic Center on February 27, where the Zags will be the #1 seed in the WCC tournament.
Gonzaga defeated San Francisco 81-68, defeated Saint Mary's 68-60, and defeated BYU 71-57 to win their sixth WCC Tournament title.
Gonzaga was selected as a #6 seed, where they played against James Madison University at Reed Arena at the University of Texas A&M campus, where they lost to the Dukes 72-63 to end their season at 29-5 and Graves' 14 years run as head coach for the Zags.[19]

2014-2015 season and Rebuilding Project at Oregon[edit]

Kelly Graves was introduced as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks women's basketball on April 7, 2014. The Oregon Ducks opened up the Kelly Graves era with a 100-77 win over Utah State.[20] The Ducks finished non-conference with a 7-4 record. Graves picked up his first career Pac-12 victory with a 62-46 over the UCLA Bruins at the Pauley Pavilion.[21] The Ducks finished their season with a 13-17 record, Graves' first losing season since his second year at Gonzaga back in the 2001–2002 season. Graves finished Pac-12 Conference with a 6-12 record.

2015-2016 season and 2016 WNIT[edit]

The Ducks finished non-conference season undefeated, which featured a 79-77 upset over the #22 North Carolina, Kelly Graves' 400th career win against North Dakota State, and the Ducks' largest margin of victory (122-59) since the 1978–79 season.[22]
The Ducks finished with a 9-9 record in Pac-12 play to finish sixth place.
The Ducks lost to the Arizona Wildcats 74-68 in the opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament at Key Arena in Seattle, WA on March 3.
The Ducks were selected to the WNIT, where they hosted Long Beach 49ers. The Ducks defeated the 49ers 84-76 to play at Fresno State on March 21.[24]
The Ducks defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 84-59 to play against their Pac-12 rival; Utah Utes, who defeated Graves' former team; the Gonzaga Bulldogs 92-77.[25]
The Ducks defeated the Utah Utes 73-63 to advance to the WNIT quarterfinals to play against UTEP.[26]
The next game, the Ducks defeated the UTEP Miners 71-67 after trailing 27-9 with approximately 8 minutes left in the first half against the Miners.[27]
The next game, the Ducks trailed throughout the game and lose to the South Dakota Coyotes in the WNIT semifinals 88-54 to end their season at 24-11. The 24 wins is the most in a season since 2001–2002, where former Oregon coach Bev Smith led the Ducks to a 22 wins season.[28][29]

2016-2017 season and 2017 NCAA Tournament[edit]

Graves led his youngest Ducks team in their women's basketball program history by starting three freshman players.
They finished non-conference with a 10-2 record, and finishing in sixth place for Pac-12 play with a 8-10 record.
The Ducks received an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament as a #10 seed, their first bid since the 2005 season. The Ducks defeated #7 Temple 71-70 and #2 Duke 74-65 at Cameron Indoor Stadium to advance to their first ever Sweet 16 in program history. The Ducks continued making history, playing against Brenda Frese's Maryland Terrapins by winning 77-63 to advance to their first ever Elite 8 appearance. This was the second time Graves led a double digit seed team to an Elite 8 appearance, where he led the Zags to one six years earlier.[30]

USA Basketball Assistant Coach[edit]

In April 2012, Graves was named as one of two assistant coaches for the USA U-18 basketball team, coached by Miami Hurricanes women's basketball coach Katie Meier and LSU women's basketball coach Nikki Caldwell is the other assistant coach.[31] The U-18 basketball won gold medal against Brazil, 71-47, which was their sixth straight gold medal.[32]
For the second straight year, Graves was named assistant coach, but this time for the USA U-19 women's basketball team. The USA U-19 team won their seventh straight gold medal with a 61-28 win over France.[33]

Notable Women's Basketball played under Coach Graves[edit]

  • Jillian Alleyne- Oregon women's basketball all-time double-doubles record holder (2014-2016) under Graves. Currently playing for the Phoenix Mercury.
  • Heather Bowman- Gonzaga women's basketball all-time leading scorer (2006–2010). Previously Video Coordinator for the Gonzaga Bulldogs women's basketball team.[34]
  • JR Payne- Saint Mary's women's basketball player (1997–1999). Currently head coach for fellow Pac-12 rival Colorado Buffaloes women's basketball.[35]
  • Katelan Redmon- Gonzaga women's basketball player (2009–2012). Transferred to Gonzaga from University of Washington during the offseason in 2008. Currently owns a business called Unique You Fitness in the Spokane area.[36]
  • Elle Tinkle- Gonzaga women's basketball player (2012-2014) under Graves. Daughter of Oregon State Beavers men's basketball coach Wayne Tinkle.[37]
  • Courtney Vandersloot- Gonzaga women's basketball all-time assists leader and second-all-time leading scorer (2007–2011).[38] She became the first player (either male or female) to score 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in their college basketball career.[39] Currently a WNBA player for the Chicago Sky and Bes,iktas, during the off-season.[40][41]

Former assistants as head coaches[edit]

  • Lisa Mispley Fortier – Gonzaga director of basketball operations (2004–2006), then assistant coach (2007–2014). Currently head coach for Gonzaga women's basketball, succeeding Graves.[42]
  • Jennifer Mountain – Gonzaga assistant coach (2001–2008). Formerly head coach for Santa Clara women's basketball from 2008–2014 and assistant coach for Portland State women's basketball for the 2014–2015 season. Currently head coach for Pacific University women's basketball.[43]
  • JR Payne – Gonzaga assistant coach (2000–2005). Formerly head coach for Southern Utah University women's basketball from 2008–2014 and Santa Clara University women's basketball from 2014–2016. Currently head coach for Colorado Buffaloes women's basketball.[35]
  • Julie Shaw – Gonzaga assistant coach (2011–2013). Currently head coach for the La Verne women's basketball.[44]

Awards and honors[edit]

WCC Head Coach of the Year- 8 times (2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014)
WCC Regular Season and Tournament Champs- 6 times (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014)
WCC Regular Season Champs- 10 times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014)


As Gonzaga head coach
100th career win- March 1, 2003 against the San Diego Toreros
100th win at Gonzaga- November 21, 2006 at Portland State University
200th career win- January 26, 2008 against the Portland Pilots
200th win at Gonzaga- March 20, 2010 against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the NCAA Tournament at the Bank of America Arena in Seattle.
300th career win- November 17, 2011 at University of Idaho
300th win at Gonzaga- January 11, 2014 against the San Diego Toreros
As Oregon head coach
400th career win- November 28, 2015 against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Saint Mary's Gaels (WCC) (1997–2000)
1997–98 Saint Mary's 19-9 9-5 T-4th
1998–99 Saint Mary's 27-7 9-5 T-2nd NCAA 1st Round
1999–00 Saint Mary's 20-10 11-3 T-1st WNIT 1st Round
Saint Mary's: 66-26 (.717) 29–13 (.690)
Gonzaga Bulldogs (WCC) (2000–2014)
2000–01 Gonzaga 5-23 0-14 8th
2001–02 Gonzaga 11-18 2-12 8th
2002–03 Gonzaga 18-12 9-5 T-2nd
2003–04 Gonzaga 18-12 10-4 T-2nd WNIT 1st Round
2004–05 Gonzaga 28-4 14-0 1st WNIT 2nd Round
2005–06 Gonzaga 16-14 11-3 T-1st
2006–07 Gonzaga 24-10 13-1 1st NCAA 1st Round
2007–08 Gonzaga 25-9 13-1 1st WNIT 2nd Round
2008–09 Gonzaga 27-7 12-2 1st NCAA 2nd Round
2009–10 Gonzaga 29-5 14-0 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2010–11 Gonzaga 31-5 14-0 1st NCAA Elite Eight
2011–12 Gonzaga 28-6 14-2 1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2012–13 Gonzaga 27-6 15-1 1st NCAA 1st Round
2013–14 Gonzaga 29-5 16-2 1st NCAA 1st Round
Gonzaga: 316-136 (.699) 157–47 (.770)
Oregon Ducks (Pac-12) (2014–present)
2014–15 Oregon 13–17 6–12 T-9th
2015–16 Oregon 24–11 9–9 6th WNIT Final Four
2016–17 Oregon 23–13 8–10 6th NCAA Elite Eight
Oregon: 60–41 (.594) 23–31 (.426)
Total: 442–203 (.685)

      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

Also won WCC Tournament Championship.
# Also won WCC Regular Season Championship.
Also won both WCC Regular Season and
Tournament Championship.


  1. ^ "Women's Basketball Coaches Career". NCAA. Retrieved 23 Sep 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Anonymous (2011-06-03). "Gonzaga University News Service » Blog Archive » Coach Kelly Graves to Discuss Winning at Dean’s Business Forum June 16". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  3. ^ "College Women's Basketball – Rankings –". Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  4. ^ "WNIT calls on Gaels, Broncos". 2000-03-13. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
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  6. ^ "Women Bulldogs Face Rutgers Saturday". 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Kelly Graves leaving Gonzaga for Oregon". 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
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  19. ^ "Burkholder leads James Madison over Gonzaga 72-63". 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
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  21. ^ . 2015-01-05 Retrieved 2015-01-05.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ "Women's Hoops Shocks No. 22 North Carolina". 2015-11-15. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
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  25. ^ "Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team tops Fresno State in WNIT second round". 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 
  26. ^ "Bando’s 34 Points Propel Ducks to Next Round of WNIT". 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  27. ^ "Ducks Roar Back, Defeat UTEP". 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  28. ^ "South Dakota crushes Oregon Ducks in Women's NIT semifinals". 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  29. ^ "Smith fired after eight seasons as UO coach". 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  30. ^ "NCAA Women's Tournament: Oregon needs monumental upset to reach Final Four". Retrieved March 26, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Kelly Graves Named Assistant on USA Basketball U18 Team". 2012-04-19. Archived from the original on 2012-04-27. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  32. ^ "USA Women's U18 Team Golden After Erasing Double-Digit Deficit To Eclipse Brazil 71-47". 2012-08-19. Archived from the original on 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  33. ^ "USA Defeats France, Wins Gold Medal at Women’s FIBA U19 World Championship". 2013-07-29. Retrieved 2013-09-26. 
  34. ^ "Heather Bowman". Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "Colorado names JR Payne to take helm of women's basketball program". 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2016-03-30. 
  36. ^ "After school fitness program offered at PRE". 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2015-01-03. 
  37. ^ "Wayne and Elle Tinkle get unexpected reunion in Corvallis for NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament". Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Courtney Vandersloot Biography". 2012-11-20. Archived from the original on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  39. ^ "Courtney Vandersloot Reaches 2,000 Points, 1,000 Assists". 2011-03-22. Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  40. ^ " Courtney Vandersloot". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  41. ^ "SKY Vandersloot Overseas". 2012-03-22. Archived from the original on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  42. ^ "Lisa Fortier Bio". April 14, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Jennifer Mountain Biography". Retrieved January 2, 2016. 
  44. ^ "Julie Shaw". 2014-11-28. Retrieved 2014-11-28. 

External links[edit]