boys basketball

Graves, who led Central to two state titles, dies at age 79

Won seven regional championships in 20-year stint with Yellowjackets

Courier-Journal staff photo Central coach Robert Graves talks to his team during a game in 1972.

Central coach Robert Graves talks to his team during a game in 1972. Courier-Journal file photo.

Courier-Journal staff photo Central boys basketball coach Robert Graves speaks to fans at a pep rally alongside district and regional championship trophies on March 12, 1967.

Courier-Journal staff photo
Central boys basketball coach Robert Graves speaks to fans at a pep rally alongside district and regional championship trophies on March 12, 1967.

Robert Graves, who coached the Central High School boys basketball team to a pair of state championships, died Wednesday. He was 79.

Shelby Lockhart, Graves’ granddaughter, said Robert Graves was battling Parkinson’s disease and suffered a stroke Sunday. She said he died at 3:53 p.m. Wednesday at Jewish Hospital.

Graves posted a 445-116 record and won seven Sixth Region championships in 20 seasons at Central from 1965-1985.

His 1968-69 team – led by Ron King – finished 35-1 after beating Ohio County 101-72 in the state final and is considered among the best squads in state history. His 1973-74 team – led by Bob Miller and Glenn Thomas – was 33-1 and knocked off Male 59-54 in the state final. That Male squad included Darrell Griffith and Bobby Turner.

“Any win is a highlight, but those were memorable years winning those prestigious awards,” said Gail Graves, Robert’s wife of 47 years.

Robert Graves graduated from Central High School in 1956 and went on to play basketball at Kentucky State University. Gail Graves said her husband retired from teaching in 1991 and “enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening, barbecuing and anything (University of Kentucky).”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and jfrakes@courier-journal.com.

Courier-Journal staff photo Central basketball coach Robert Graves pictured in April 1969. He was named the state’s coach of the year after leading the Yellowjackets to their first state title.

Courier-Journal staff photo
Central basketball coach Robert Graves pictured in April 1969. He was named the state’s coach of the year after leading the Yellowjackets to their first state title.

Courier-Journal staff photo Central basketball coach Robert Graves talks to his team during a state tournament game on March 17, 1967.

Courier-Journal staff photo
Central basketball coach Robert Graves talks to his team during a state tournament game on March 17, 1967.

Courier-Journal staff photo Central coach Robert Graves talks to his players during a timeout in an LIT semifinal game Jan. 16, 1979.

Courier-Journal staff photo
Central coach Robert Graves talks to his players during a timeout in an LIT semifinal game Jan. 16, 1979.

 

Central basketball coach Robert Graves, left, poses with his son, Robert Jr., in 1984 prior to the coach starting his 20th season at Central High.

Central basketball coach Robert Graves, left, poses with his son, Robert Jr., in 1984 prior to the coach starting his 20th season at Central High.

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