The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.

Western Courier

Gravina makes his mark in college hoops


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MACOMB, Ill. — After a record-setting season, head coach JD Gravina added another award to his list of accomplishments as he was named a recipient of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Division I Coach of the Year.

“Like all coach of the year awards, this is just another recognition of our team success,” Gravina said. “I’m very proud of the way our team played this season, and I appreciate the IBCA recognizing us.”

The award marks Gravina’s fourth as a head coach, earning the honor three times as the IBCA Division II Coach of the Year during his tenure at Quincy University (2008-11).

Gravina, the current Summit League Coach of the Year, led the Leathernecks to an unprecedented 26 total wins as well as the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 22 years. The women’s basketball team captured both the 2016- 17 Summit League Regular Season (first since 2006) and Tournament (first since 1995) Championship. It was not just any other win for the Leathernecks. Western went through adversity and ultimately took home a win in overtime. The play Gravina drew up worked perfectly. All eyes were on Clemens, and he gave the final shot to a 3-point specialist on his squad, Taylor Higginbotham. That was not the only postseason success he would give the Leathernecks. In Western’s NCAA tournament appearance against the mighty Florida State Seminoles, the Leathernecks fought the whole game and were only down a bucket at halftime.

The Leathernecks also earned a record-setting eight regular season league awards among five different members of the team in Emily Clemens (All- League First Team/Summit League Player of the Year), Morgan Blumer (All-League First Team/All-Newcomer Team/Transfer of the Year), Taylor Higginbotham (All- League Second Team), Olivia Braun (All-Newcomer Team) and Gravina (Coach of the Year).

Western Illinois basketball is well on their way to making a mark on the NCAA. With the help of Gravina, Western is going to turn a corner in the basketball world. GoLeathernecks.com

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Gravina makes his mark in college hoops