Interim tag removed, Morgan announces Graves as C-N softball’s new head coach

VIDEO: Michael Graves Press Conference

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. –  Carson-Newman Vice President for Athletics Allen Morgan has removed the interim tag from Michael Graves' title.  The Eagles' long-time softball assistant is officially the program's second head coach in its 33-year history. 

Graves was elevated to interim head coach when NFCA, SAC and Carson-Newman Hall of Famer Vickee Kazee-Hollifield announced her retirement in April. 

Kazee-Hollifield founded the Carson-Newman softball program and coached it to 1,161 wins in 33 years.

"God has blessed this university and this softball team with having coach Vickee Hollifield for 33 years," Vice President for Athletics Allen Morgan said. "Coach Graves has been with her for 15 years.  It makes a lot of sense that Michael Graves be the second head coach in the history of our softball program."

Graves was alongside Hollifield for nearly half the program's existence, coaching as an assistant from 1992-2001 and again from 2014 up until this season. 

"It's a pleasure to accept this position," Graves said. "Vickee Hollifield founded this program on three things, and those are three things that we will continue.  We will continue to put our faith in Jesus Christ as a softball program.  We will continue to graduate 100 percent of players who exhaust their eligibility within this program.  Finally, we will continue to compete at the highest level on the softball field."

Carson-Newman has won either a regular season or tournament crown in all but one of Graves' years as a paid assistant on Kazee-Hollifield's staff.   Graves helped guide Carson-Newman to the 2018 South Atlantic Conference tournament crown as interim head coach. 

Graves coached 10 All-Americans in his tenures at C-N.  He helped tutor Kelli Hensley, as well as Elayna Siebert and Bre Lockett to their record-setting seasons in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Then coached his first All-Americans who were also freshmen in 2017 in Lacie Rinus and Abby Fiessinger.

"It's tough to fill anyone's shoes who is a hall of famer," Graves said. "Her family took me in when I was student here.  I can't say enough about her family, especially her mom and dad.  I owe her and her family a lot.  I can't replace her.  All I can do is be Michael Graves and try to keep the program rolling in the direction it has been for 33 years." 

He also guided Carson-Newman Hall of Famers Sammi Hatcher and Heather Randolph to All-American seasons in the mid-90s.  In addition, first basemen Lindi Bordine and Brandi Hardin also earned All-American honors in 1993 and 1992, respectively.

Graves has helped tutor 18 all-region selections and 57 all-conference picks.  He counts Randolph, Hatcher, Libby Conley and Staci Fish among the best players he's coached.

Carson-Newman was 483-162 with Graves as an assistant. 

Graves resides in Alcoa, Tenn. with his wife Megan.



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