AP Source: South Alabama hires Butler's Graves

Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — South Alabama has hired Butler associate head coach Matthew Graves as its head basketball coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday.

Graves will be introduced at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school hasn't announced the hire. AL.com first reported the hiring.

Graves will replace Ronnie Arrow, who retired 10 games into the season as the winningest coach for both the Mobile school and the Sun Belt Conference. Associate head coach Jeff Price served as interim coach the rest of the season, with the Jaguars finishing 17-12 and losing to Western Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the league tournament.

Graves was a Butler assistant for nine seasons and was elevated to associate head coach in 2010.

Butler made it to the NCAA championship game in 2010 and 2011, but lost 74-72 to Marquette in the second round Saturday.

Graves, a former Butler player, started as his alma mater's coordinator of men's basketball operations from 2001-03 under coach Todd Lickliter, then became an assistant coach.

Graves played for Butler from 1993-98 and was a member of the program's first NCAA tournament team in 35 years. As a senior, he was the Bulldogs' most valuable player and led the team to a second straight tournament appearance. He still ranks in the top 10 in career 3-pointers and free-throw shooting.

Arrow announced his retirement on Dec. 19 with the Jaguars off to a 5-5 start.

Arrow had coached South Alabama for 13-plus seasons in two stints, going 211-61 and leading them to three NCAA tournaments and three Sun Belt titles.