After 27 years of coaching baseball and softball at Notre Dame Regional High School, Coach Jeff Graviett is hanging up his cleats after this baseball season.
“Jeff has been synonymous with Notre Dame baseball and softball for the past 20+ years. He has left his mark in both arenas across the state of Missouri and especially here in southeast Missouri,” said Notre Dame Principal Tim Garner.
Coach Graviett began his coaching tenure at Notre Dame as an assistant baseball coach in 1997, then taking over the program as head coach in 1999. In 2000 he joined the softball coaching staff, assuming the head coaching position in 2003. He has since amassed a record of 938-259 between both baseball and softball.
His baseball teams have won 11 district championships and made five final four appearances, bringing home state titles in both 2009 and 2015. Under his tutelage, the Notre Dame girls’ softball team won a state title in 2009, along with 17 district championships and nine final fours.
“There are so many great memories over the years, but my top three are of the state titles,” said Jeff Graviett. “The 2009 baseball team will always be my first state championship. What a tremendous group of coaches and young men on that team. Witnessing the father daughter moment with Ray (Reinagel) and Lauren (Reinagel Pobst) during the 2009 softball state title game will always be unforgettable. And the 2015 baseball group – I was around most of those guys since they were 12 years old – watching them dominate the postseason was one of the most remarkable runs I have ever seen a team make.”
Notre Dame Assistant Softball Coach Ray Reinagel said this about Graviett, “coaching alongside Coach Graviett these past 20 years has been such a huge reward for me. Besides the district championships, final fours, and state championship, he has shown me so many ways to lead. Something he always instilled in our players was that it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how you react when you get back up. My favorite statement of Graviett’s was ‘I will do my best to put you in a position to succeed, not to fail.’ It’s been an honor to have coached and learned from one of the best.”
Coach Graviett was named the Missouri Baseball Coach of the Year in 2009. He has been inducted into several hall of fames; including, Notre Dame’s Athletic Hall of Fame, the Missouri High School Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame (2018), and the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association (MHSBCA) Hall of Fame (2019).
Mallory Siebert, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate, played for Graviett during her high school days and has spent eight years coaching alongside him for the Lady Bulldogs. “I was blessed with the opportunity to not only get to learn from Coach Graviett as a coach, but also to be coached by him during my Notre Dame softball career. What I remember most from my playing days is Coach Graviett’s honesty. One of the many things that makes him such a great coach is that he is honest with his players. He is honest when he sees room for improvement and isn’t afraid to help push them to be the best they can be. He is honest when he feels his team has been outplayed or out hustled, and he is honest when he sees talent that some players might not even see in themselves. Coach Graviett never let his teams play with anything but confidence, and that is evident in the success he has had during his career.”
When asked what he’ll miss most about coaching, Jeff Graviett said, “I will miss the relationships with both parents and athletes. I have made many wonderful lifelong friendships through coaching. I will also miss seeing kids achieve their goals, whether getting that big strikeout, game winning hit, or winning a state championship. That look on the athlete’s face is what made it all worth it.”
“Going from player to coach, I have witnessed all of the work and dedication Coach Graviett brings to the program that as an athlete, often goes unseen. I can honestly say that Coach Graviett has taught me more than I can put into words. Most importantly he is the definition of what it means to invest, with your whole heart, into something you are passionate about and love. I can only hope that his impact and legacy live on through Notre Dame softball,” said Siebert.
While he is retiring from coaching, Graviett will remain at Notre Dame. The change will allow him to focus solely on his role as Notre Dame’s athletic director.
“I began my tenure at Notre Dame coaching alongside Jeff,” said Garner. “I know how much he has cared about the young men and women he has coached; more than the wins and losses, that is what makes a hall of fame coach. Although he is leaving the coaching realm, Jeff will continue to offer that same level of care and expertise to student athletes year-round in his current role as Notre Dame’s athletic director.”