Alma, Mich. - Alma College men's basketball Head Coach Sam Hargraves has resigned from his position and has accepted the same role at Olivet College, Director of Athletics Steven Rackley announced on Friday (March 29). Head Assistant Coach Ty Edwards will assume the role of interim head coach moving forward.
"We are very grateful for Sam's presence over the past eight years," said Rackley. "Not only has Sam showed he can produce positive results on the court, but he has also established himself as a great mentor and leader of young men. It's been a pleasure to work with him, we thank him for everything he's done for us and wish him the absolute best in the future."
In eight seasons as the Scots' head coach, Hargraves amassed a record of 85-124. His tenure is highlighted by a trip to the NCAA Division III Elite Eight in 2015-16, where the Scots finished the season ranked sixth in the nation by D3hoops.com. Alma won a school record 24 games that year, placed second in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association with a 12-2 record, and won the league's postseason tournament for the first time in program history, earning a bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. There, Alma topped a pair of top-10 teams – No. 5 John Carroll and No. 7 St. Norbert – before falling to national finalist and No. 2-ranked Benedictine. Following the 2015-16 campaign, Hargraves was named the Great Lakes District Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Men's College Coach of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, and received the Glenn Van Wieren Coach of the Year award from the Champions of Character organization.
In the season prior, Alma recorded 12 victories, the most wins the program had seen since the 1996-97 campaign. The Scots also posted a 9-5 mark in MIAA to finish fourth and qualify for the MIAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. The league record was the best at Alma since the 1977-78 season. The Scots also defeated Calvin for the first time since 1998-99, and Hope for the first time since 1997-98 last season.
Several players have thrived under Hargraves system. In 2012, Tom Erickson and Cory Schneider were both named All-MIAA Second Team and Schneider graduated as the school-record holder for most three-point field goals made in a season with 70 – DJ Beckman broke the record with 75 in the 2015-16 season. Isiah Law, 2014 graduate, set the single-game three-point field goals made mark with eight. Fellow 2014 graduate Brandon Krause finished his career as one of the most consistent players in the history of the program, leaving Alma tied for second on the games played list with 100 while his 239 career assists are sixth most in school history. Krause was a two-time All-MIAA Second Team selection (2013-14). In 2014-15, Alma had two players earn All-MIAA honors. Scott Nikodemski, a first-team selection, led the league in assists and steals, while DJ Beckman received second-team honors. In 2015-16, Scott Nikodemski was named the MIAA's Most Valuable Player and became Alma College's first-ever All-American, earning First-Team honors, while DJ Beckman and Trevor Gernaat were named to the All-MIAA Second Team.
Hargraves, a native of Alanson, Mich., played and graduated from Calvin College after a stellar career at Alanson High School.
While at Calvin, Hargraves played three years of varsity basketball, and as a senior, was named to the All-MIAA Second Team (1998). In his final campaign, he led the league in three-point field goals made with 71, good for ninth in Calvin College history. He ended his career as one of the top three-point shooters at the school, ranking eighth in career three-pointers made with 143 and 12th in three-point field goal percentage at 40.2 percent (143-356). He was also a career 84 percent free throw shooter.
A 1994 graduate of Alanson High School, Hargraves garnered First Team Class D All-State honors, amassing 1,507 career points in just three seasons. During his senior year, he averaged an impressive 29 points per game.
Hargraves, whose coaching career began as an assistant at Alma College from 1998-2000, also serves as the assistant athletic director for advancement at Alma College and is the advisor for the campus chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He earned his Masters degree in physical education from Central Michigan University in 2000, and resides in Alma with his wife Annalyse.