With the 2019-2020 boys basketball season underway, the Vipers have a 2-5 record. They are looking to finish better than last year, when they came in just under .500 at 14-16. After the departure of Coach Dave Suits, Bryon Graven was hired. “I was recruited by Coach Suits. I had been interviewing for other positions and when he heard I was looking he reached out. After interviewing and hearing more about the position it seemed like a good fit,” Graven explained.
Before coming to South County, Graven coached at Morrisonville, Williamsville, NCOE, and Mount Zion. South County was a great destination for his coaching career because Graven is from Auburn. He felt the job was perfect because it would allow him to be closer to family.
Just as Graven’s family is important to him off the court, his players are important to him on the court. “You have to show the kids you care about them,” said Graven. Graven has a certain philosophy on coaching. “Character is what you do when no one is watching. There are four coaches and twenty-seven kids. This means we can’t see them all at once. We want them to make mistakes, but we also want to see how they respond after doing so.”
Graven believes that the players have to put the team ahead of their own personal accolades. He had a creative statement for that: “We > me.” Although Graven is a coach first and foremost, he doesn’t just care about what his players do on the court.“They are student-athletes first. Notice the student is in front of the athlete,” said Graven.
Graven credited the seniors with building a legacy. It’s their job to be leaders and to set examples for the younger players. On a team that has many underclassmen getting playing time this year, their leadership is especially important. “With basketball, we want to start a legacy. Our seniors feel like the South County basketball program is so young that they can really leave their mark on the beginning of something special.”