The Ottumwa Courier


February 20, 2013

Gravett resigns as Bulldog boys hoops coach

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa High School boys varsity basketball coach Chris Gravett is stepping down after completing his fifth season as head coach. Gravett will continue to teach at Ottumwa.

Gravett, the father of three children under the age of five, wants to spend more time with his kids.

“I want to be a full-time dad,” said Gravett. “This will allow me to spend more time with my family. I will always be an Ottumwa guy. I want to teach here and I want my kids to grow up here.”

An Ottumwa native, OHS graduate and letter winner, Gravett began his teaching career in 2003 and currently teaches sixth grade math and science at Evans Middle School. He also started coaching basketball and freshman football that year. He became the district’s varsity head coach in 2008.

“I appreciate the time he devoted to our basketball program and value his decision,” said Superintendent Davis Eidahl. “Coach Gravett will continue to have a positive impact in the classroom as a very talented teacher. I’m excited for the time Chris will have loving and growing his family.”

Gravett’s last season as coach of the Bulldogs was a rocky one, as the boys finished just 2-20 overall and 1-11 in the CIML Metro Conference. Ottumwa’s season was dealt a huge blow before the season even started when Faith Pope — the previous season’s leading scorer — left the team to  play for Mount Pleasant. The scoring void left by Pope, who led the CIML Metro with 16.6 points a game in his junior campaign with the Bulldogs; was especially palpable during games when Ottumwa’s offense struggled to put the ball in the basket.

Despite their record, Gravett’s team seldom suffered from a lack of effort. The Bulldogs’ team was filled with and ornamented by hard-nosed players who made up for what they lacked in size and speed with toughness and competitive zeal. Gravett’s successor, assuming everyone from this season returns, will be left with a team flush with experience. Of the 15 players who suited up, 12 will return. While Ottumwa will miss the leadership and blue-collar work ethic provided by Austin Walker, Kyle Keck and Charlie Altfillisch, the new coach will have an  experienced lot of young talent to work with.  

Carter Burns, Ottumwa’s leading scorer this season, still has two more years left with the program. After spending a year in the shadow of Pope and seniors Ben Kramer and Erik Thorgaard as a freshman, Burns became the cornerstone of Ottumwa’s offense. He went from averaging just five points and about three rebounds per game in his freshman year to averaging 15 points and 7.5 boards as a sophomore.

In Ottumwa’s two victories, Burns averaged almost 26 points a game. The sophomore capped off his season by dropping 33 points and drilling six 3-pointers on Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the regional quarterfinals of Class 4A Substate tournament.

Other returning players who saw a lot of minutes this season include Brok Hopwood, Andrew Altfillisch, Chris Peden, Matthew Moreland and Curtis Schneckloth. Hopwood provided Ottumwa with acute passing skills — especially when it came to getting the ball inside — 3-pointers and a fierce competitive spirit this season. Altfillisch specialized in graceful drives down the lane and Peden gave the Bulldogs some solid minutes down in the post. In his freshman year, Moreland got some good experience at point guard and made great strides throughout the year and Schneckloth gave Ottumwa some solid minutes off the bench.

Gravett said his decision to resign had nothing to do with wins and losses, it was all about family.

“I want to spend more time with them [his  kids] and watch them grow up,” he said.

Gravett said he will be sure to follow his former team’s progress next season.

“I will probably come to most of the home games and I will probably travel to a few,” he said.

Text Only
  • State Baseball Tournament TuesdayClass 3A QuarterfinalsDallas Center-Grimes 3, No. 5 Fairfield 0 (9) ThursdayClass 1A SemifinalsNo. 1 Twin Cedars (34-0) vs. No. 5 Gehlen Catholic (30-3), 2 p.m. (104.9 FM KBOE)

    July 31, 2014

  • 0731 OTT Sports Kassidi Henderson mug Three Bulldogs make all-state OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa softball team had three of its players named to a Class 5A All-State team by Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.Bulldog second baseman Ashlyn Thompson and Kassidi Henderson were voted to the all-state second team and Alexis W

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Prep Softball All-State Team Class 1A 1st Team All State Name School Grade Kayla Tindall Akron-Westfield 12 Dana Hedlund Akron-Westfield 12 Renee Maneman Newelll Fonda 12 Rachel Smith Exira/EHK

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731 OTT Sports Austin Gridley Fairfield baseball photo Oh So Close! DES MOINES — Becoming the first Fairfield pitcher to start a state tournament game in 35 years didn’t seem to faze Trojan senior pitcher Joseph Hietpas. In fact, taking the mound at Principal Park in Des Moines seemed to only help Hietpas as he made

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cedar Creek Ladies battle for low net score OTTUMWA — The Cedar Creek Ladies played "event low net score" on Tuesday. The medalist for the day was Carole Meredith while Patti Meyer and Ann Allison tied for low putts. In Flight A, Margo Sears finished in first place while Meredith finished seco

    July 30, 2014

  • 0731 OTT Sports Twin Cedars baseball photo 2 Twin Cedars just two wins from perfection DES MOINES — The 33 wins in 33 games to get to state was nice. So was the 34th-straight win, earned Saturday over Underwood in the Class 1A State Baseball Quarterfinals. But as he walked through the stands with his team at Principal Park following th

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0731 OTT Sports Bill Huisman photo Huisman wraps up successful 38-year career at Centerville FAIRFIELD — Sometime later this summer, Bill Huisman will look back on his 38 seasons as Centerville head baseball coach with a big smile. In the immediate aftermath of what proved to be his final game as Big Reds head coach, however, all Huisman wan

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0731 OTT Sports Ottumwa Little League photo Ottumwa Little League team ends terrific season OTTUMWA — Chris Becker doesn't think it's sunk in yet. Becker, the coach of the Ottumwa 9-10 Midwest All Stars, said his players have yet to fully grasp the depths of what they've accomplished this season. With time, however, he thinks they will und

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • On Tap Thursday Prep Baseball Class 1A State Semifinals Twin Cedars vs. LeMars Gehlen at Des Moines (Principal Park), 2 p.m.

    July 30, 2014

  • 0730 OTT Sports Ottumwa Babe Ruth 14 All Stars Ottumwa Babe Ruth team dominates at state OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa 14 Babe Ruth All-Stars team bore a striking resemblance to absolute domination at the state tournament in Ottumwa this season."The longest game we had was six innings," Conner Sheehan said. "We still 10-run ruled that team it ju

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Sports photo reprints