Graham making switch to Ironton girls#8217; coach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

Doug Graham is acting like a baseball manager. He’s making a double switch.

Graham is moving from coaching at South Point to Ironton, and he’s switching from coaching boys to coaching girls.

Graham was hired Thursday 5-0 by the Ironton School Board as the new Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers head basketball coach. He replaces Amy Hughes who accepted a job as the head coach at Chillicothe.

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During his seven seasons coaching basketball, Graham spent four years as an assistant on the South Point varsity to current Ironton head coach Mark LaFon. Under LaFon he was the junior varsity coach.

Graham coached the South Point Junior High teams for three seasons. His junior high teams won two Ohio Valley Conference championships and finished as runners-up in the other season.

“This is a tremendous opportunity. Ironton always has tremendous athletes and great community support. It’s a great place to be,” Graham said.

Although Graham has been coaching at South Point, he is familiar with the Ironton girls’ team.

“I saw the girls play eight or 10 times last year, so I know what’s coming back. I want to see us play up tempo and play an aggressive man-to-man defense. I won’t treat them any different than the boys,” Graham said.

Ironton athletic director Mark Vass thinks Graham is a good choice.

“I think he’s a good fit. He’s young, energetic and a hard worker. I think if everyone gives him a chance, he’ll do a good job,” Vass said.

Graham hopes to develop depth, but he said players will earn their playing time.

“I’m going to play the girls who work the hardest,” Graham said. “If that means eight, then I’ll use eight. If that means five, then I’ll use five. I want a lot of girls out there and if they work hard in practice, they’ll get rewarded with playing time.”

Ironton begins its third stint in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League this season and Graham said a league title is one of his goals.

“I want to win the conference and play our best basketball when the tournament comes,” Graham said.

Ironton was 22-3 last season and lost in the regional finals.

Graham is a 1996 graduate of South Point and earned his teaching degree from Marshall University in 2000. He received a Masters degree from Ohio University in 2005.

His wife, the former Tiffany Howard, is a graduate of Ironton High School and currently teaches in the Ironton school system.