Graves named Turners’ new AD
GREENFIELD — The hometown boy is finally coming home.
Adam Graves, a 1996 Turners Falls High School graduate and former starting Indians quarterback, returned to his alma mater Tuesday afternoon when he officially accepted the positions of athletic director and physical-education teacher.
Graves, 36, replaces Glenn Doulette, who left to become West Springfield High School AD after two years. He leaves his post as a phys-ed teacher at Ludlow High School, where he has spent the past 14 years. In a way, he explained, he never really left.
“Staying around the area, the thought was always in the back of my mind about coming back,” said Graves during an interview at The Recorder. “The other day my mom said, ‘This is your dream job,’ and I said, ‘Yes, it is.’ ... I’m excited, and still a little shocked.”
Graves said he will unofficially start his work as AD Thursday, having informal meetings with coaches and getting acclimated before starting full-time duty later in the summer. The athletic season officially opens with football conditioning practices on Aug. 18.
“It (being an AD) was always a thought in the back of my mind, and it really started creeping in the past three or four years,” said Graves. “I was getting out of the classroom and into more of an administration role. The Turners job is perfect because I’m still going to teach and I’ll also have athletics, so it’s the best of both worlds.”
Even thought he had AD aspirations, Graves wasn’t submitting resumes to every school in the valley. Quite the opposite.
“The only reason I would leave Ludlow is for the Turners job,” said the Erving native. “I said that to the people I work with at Ludlow, and I said that in my interview. The only job I would leave Ludlow for is this one, to come home. There’s just something special about the community.
“The one tough thing about this (is) leaving Ludlow,” he added. “That and leaving the people I work with.”
Graves has used the past decade-and-a-half as a training ground of sorts toward his goal of becoming an AD — he took graduate school courses for athletic administration at Emporia (Kan.) State University, and worked with the athletic department and booster club at Ludlow.
He also laid the groundwork for his eventual return to the Powertown in 2012, when he applied for the AD’s position after Gary Mullins retired. Even though he didn’t get it, Graves returned as a volunteer assistant football coach with the Indians last fall. Once he discovered that Doulette was looking elsewhere, he jumped at the second chance, sent in his resume and hoped for the best. Offered the job, he headed home.
“Last year, when I was walking into the field for the first (football) game, George Bush was there to shake my hand, Stosh Koscinski was standing there, and then I walked by Eddie Bourdeau’s statue. It was pretty amazing,” said Graves, who plans to return as an assistant this fall. “There really is something special about this place.”
Graves said he simply wants to continue what Doulette had been doing to move the program forward, including taking advantage of social media to interact with the community and notify teams, parents and other fans about scores, changes and other important news in real time.
“I’m going to use it as much as possible,” said Graves, referring to the athletic department’s twitter account (@TFHSindians). “It’s so much easier to send out a tweet saying a game is at 4 instead of 6 due to weather. That way, everybody can see it, a huge plus. And getting scores on so people know right away and they’ll stay informed.”
Graves graduated from Springfield College in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Movement and Sports Studies. He earned a Master’s of Education in 2008 from American InterContinental University in Chicago, Ill.
Graves has spent the past 11 seasons coaching football. Prior to last season, he served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at Belchertown High School for four seasons, and spent six seasons at Ludlow in a variety of roles, including junior varsity head coach for five years. He’s also worked as an instructor in multiple football camps, including the Matt Light Football Camp in 2008.
Graves has also coached baseball, basketball and softball at various levels in different schools during his time in the lower Pioneer Valley. He just completed his second season as varsity softball coach at Ludlow this spring after five years as the JV and assistant varsity coach.