Graves inks extension at Oregon

University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens announced that the University has reached an agreement on a contract extension with head women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves. The extension runs through the 2028-29 season, and the incremental increases are funded through private athletic gifts.

In his seventh season with the Ducks after being named the program’s head coach on April 7, 2014, Graves owns a record of 162-54 (.750) and has led Oregon to three consecutive Pac-12 regular-season championships as well as two conference tournament championships in the last three years.

Kelly Graves has built a tremendous culture and family atmosphere within Oregon women’s basketball program that has created a first-class experience for our student-athletes,” said Mullens. “He and his staff have elevated the standard in our program to consistently competing for and winning Pac-12 championships while also competing at the highest level nationally. Kelly and Mary Graves have formed a strong bond to the Eugene community and all Duck fans, and we are grateful for their continued commitment to our student-athletes and the University of Oregon.”

“I am extremely grateful to President Schill, Rob Mullens, Lisa Peterson, and the entire administration for their continued support and trust in me to lead this program,” said Graves. “My family and I absolutely love being a part of the Duck family and the amazing University of Oregon community. We are building something special here in Eugene, and this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all of the tremendous student-athletes we have had the privilege of working with over the years, as well as the commitment of my incredible staff. I also want to thank the best fans in the nation for their unbelievable passion and support of this program; we can’t wait until the day we are able to pack the house at Matthew Knight Arena again.”

The John R. Wooden Pac-12 Coach of the Year in each of the last two seasons, Graves guided Oregon to the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance in 2019 while also leading UO to three consecutive Elite Eights. The Ducks set a program record for wins in 2017-18 with 33, a total equaled in 2018-19, and Oregon went 31-2 in the COVID-19-shortened 2019-20 season to become the only team in the nation with 30-plus wins in each of the last three campaigns. 

The Ducks – 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Pac-12 play to open the 2020-21 season – have won a program-record 26 consecutive games dating back to last season, the longest active winning streak in the nation. Oregon also owns current win streaks of 23 consecutive in conference play, 21 in a row at home, and 13 consecutive on the road, and the No. 8 Ducks have been ranked in the Associated Press top 10 for 64 consecutive polls.

In his 24th season as a Division I head coach, Graves owns a 544-216 (.716) career record with 13 total conference titles, and his 162 wins as Oregon’s head coach rank second in program history.

Graves has coached and recruited some of the greatest players in women’s college basketball history, including the only two players ever to record 2,000 career points and 1,000 career assists in Oregon legend Sabrina Ionescu and former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot. Ionescu is the undisputed NCAA triple-double queen with 26 during her incredible career, and she was the unanimous national player of the year as a senior in 2019-20 before going on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Under Graves’ tutelage, Ionescu teamed up with fellow All-Americans Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally to form one of the most lethal trios in the history of the game. Sabally followed Ionescu as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft and Hebard went at No. 8, becoming just the seventh trio of teammates ever to go in the top 10 of the same draft.

Despite losing the “Big Three” as well as a fourth starter from 2019-20 in Minyon Moore, Graves has maintained Oregon’s status as one of the nation’s premiere programs in 2020-21 with the addition of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class as well as multiple talented transfers. The top-ranked freshman class – made up of five McDonald’s All-Americans – is the first in program history.

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