UPDATED: Graves hired as Evansville assistant
Matthew Graves is back in the coaching profession.
Less than five weeks after the University of South Alabama decided to move in a different direction, parting ways with Graves as head coach after five seasons, the Switz City native has landed his next coaching position.
The University of Evansville announced Friday Graves will be joining the staff of newly-hired Purple Aces head coach Walter McCarty.
“It’s great. I’m very excited to be going to Evansville,” Graves said.
McCarty replaced Marty Simmons who was let go after 11 seasons at the Aces’ helm. McCarty had been an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics under Brad Stevens since 2013.
The 1992 Evansville Harrison graduate starred at the University of Kentucky, winning an NCAA national championship in 1996. McCarty went on to play 10 years in the NBA, spending the majority of his career with the Celtics.
Graves will be reunited with one of his former mentors. Todd Lickliter was also announced Friday as an addition to McCarty’s staff.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to reconnect with Todd and have a chance to be back in the state of Indiana,” Graves said.
Lickliter was head coach at Butler University for six seasons through 2007, leading the Bulldogs to Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2003 and 2007. The Indianapolis native served as a regional scout for the Celtics the past three seasons.
Graves began his coaching career as an assistant to Lickliter, then stayed with Butler for the duration of Stevens’ tenure. He was Stevens’ lead assistant for the Bulldogs’ 2010 and 2011 national runner-up squads.
Graves took the South Alabama job a couple of months before Stevens left for the Celtics.
The former coach of the South Alabama Jaguars spent the past several weeks exploring his options as jobs became available and making contacts. Initially, Evansville wasn’t on his radar.
“To be quite honest Evansville was a job I thought Walter had already filled his staff early in the process,” Graves said. “I was very surprised and happy he gave me a call this week.”
The Butler and Boston Celtics connections run deep on the new Purple Aces coaching staff. Not only has Graves worked under Lickliter, he and McCarty both coached under Brad Stevens.
“It’s a small world at times,” the new Evansville assistant said of the coaching fraternity. “Obviously having those sort of connections I think is really going to help the staff at Evansville put together good basketball team.”
The connections and experience Graves and Lickliter bring to the table could prove to be valuable assets for McCarty in his first season at the Purple Aces helm.