Bloomfield Hills basketball coach resigns after allegations of a slapping a player
Bloomfield Hills – Duane Graves resigned as boys basketball coach at Bloomfield Hills on Thursday morning.
Bloomfield Hills reached the Class A final last season, the first time in school history.
Following his resignation, the Bloomfield Hills School District issued a press release stating that an internal investigation revealed that on Wednesday Graves “became upset with a player on the team at practice and used his palm to slap the player on the face” as well as telling another player on the team that he had “nappy hair.”
According to the statement it is not believed that Graves intended to hurt or offend either player involved in the pair of incidents.
In an interview with State Champs, Graves denied that he slapped the player, saying instead that he made contact with him by “clutching the player’s jersey to move him to another spot on the floor” during a drill.
“It was time for me to step away,” Graves said. “I love the kids, I loved every single one of them that I coached. That’s what I will remember.”
Graves led Bloomfield Hills to a 24-4 record last season and, in the championship game, the Blackhawks lost to Muskegon 91-67 at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Bloomfield Hills is 6-5 entering Friday’s Oakland Activities Association Red Division game at No. 8-ranked Clarkston (13-0). Bloomfield Hills freshmen coach Nick Stration, who also serves as the school’s varsity track and field coach, has been named to replace Graves on an interim basis.
In the summer of 2013, Graves, 38, was hired to head the Bloomfield Hills boys basketball program after the merger of Lahser and Andover, the school district’s two high schools. In each of the two previous seasons, Graves guided Lahser to league and district titles.
Graves played at Lake Orion in the early 1990s.
The mid-year coaching change at Bloomfield Hills is the second that the Metro Detroit boys hoops scene has had in the past few weeks. Late last month, Oak Park’s Bryant Tipton resigned amid allegations of grade-fixing that spawned an internal investigation within the school district.
Oak Park tapped athletic director and football coach Greg Carter as its interim basketball coach. Carter, owner of four state crowns on the football field at Detroit De Porres, is 2-1 since taking over.
On Wednesday Oak Park (7-4) beat Troy Athens 60-49. Athens and Oak Park are defending co-champions in the OAA White.