Jeff Graba Head Coach5th Season
Two-time SEC Coach of the Year Jeff Graba enters his fifth season at the helm of the Auburn gymnastics program in 2015.
Graba was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2014, the second time in four seasons he has been honored. He was named SEC co-Coach of the Year in 2012.
Auburn gymnastics, which was ranked as high as 10th nationally before finishing ranked 13th for the second-straight season in 2014, has continued to rise during Graba’s tenure. His fourth season in 2014 was his best thus far in all aspects. One of the many high points in the season came with a win at No. 10 Arkansas 196.550-196.100 for the Tigers first win in six meetings in Fayetteville.
Auburn set a season attendance record with 27,888 in Auburn Arena with an average of 5,578 for the five home meets. The 2014 season also marked the fifth-straight season that season ticket sales have grown. Auburn’s home attendance average ranked eighth among women’s sports in the SEC while the total of 59,827 that saw the Tigers in home and away meets in 2014 ranked seventh nationally.
Auburn (197.000) posted its second 197 plus score of 2014 against Missouri, marking the first time that an Auburn team has accomplished the feat. The Tigers have scored 197 or higher three times in the last 15 meets, a plateau that had only been reached once in the program’s previous 38 years of competition. Eight of the top 10 scores in program history have now been achieved under Graba.
Auburn’s berth in the Baton Rouge regional was the 12th-straight year the Tigers had reached NCAA postseason competition. Auburn won the SEC Gymnastics Championship afternoon session for the second year in a row and finished fifth overall.
Caitlin Atkinson and MJ Rott were named National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women regular season All-Americans. Atkinson, Brittany Webster and Megan Walker were named All-SEC.
At the SEC Championship, Atkinson scored 9.875 on vault and 9.85 on balance beam to earn All-SEC honors on both events. Walker was named All-SEC on both uneven bars and balance beam with scores of 9.85 and 9.9, respectively. Webster’s 9.800 on floor earned All-SEC honors. Rott was named to the all-freshman team on vault and in the all-around competition while also being a SEC Freshman of the Week selection.
Walker was named to the SEC-Community Service Team and 10 gymnasts were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll while two freshmen were on the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll.
Auburn posted a vault total of 49.400 against Florida, just missing the program record of 49.500 against Denver in 2008. That score is the highest since 2008, the top vault score under Jeff Graba and the second-best in school history.
In 2013, the high point of the season came in Auburn's record win over No. 6 LSU with a program-record score of 197.175. The Tigers also added the then-fourth-highest team score in program history with a 196.725 at Missouri.
The Tigers had an Auburn record 196.700 at the Gainesville Regional while finishing third. Additionally, Graba mentored freshman Caitlin Atkinson to the program's first All-America honor since 2008 as Atkinson, Bri Guy and Petrina Yokay earned All-SEC accolades.
Auburn recorded six wins over top 25 programs in 2013 and attained a final season ranking of 13th. It was the second-highest finish in 20 years for the Tigers and tied for the third-highest finish in program history.
Capped by Graba being named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, the 2012 season included many notable achievements, including the program's highest regular season ranking since 2009 with Auburn reaching as high as No. 13. The Tigers also posted the second-highest regional score in program history with a 196.100 in the NCAA Auburn Regional.
In addition, Auburn posted two scores that at the time were in the top five in program history with totals of 196.875 against Florida and 196.700 against Southern Utah. Auburn's 2011 recruiting class was ranked in the top 10 by CollegeGymFans.com.
In 2012, Auburn gymnasts tied or set more than 40 career-best scores and totaled more than 60 season bests. Senior Kylie Shields made her second-straight trip to the NCAA Championship, while Bri Guy became the first Auburn freshman since 2005 to qualify for the national championships in the all-around competition. This marked the first time Auburn sent more than one participant to nationals since 2006.
Guy was named the program's first All-SEC selection since 2009.
Graba led Auburn to a 9-14 overall record in his first year as head coach in 2011 as the Tigers posted 26 individual titles while Auburn had a NCAA Regional score of 195.600, its highest score at a regional since 2004. Rachel Inniss and Shields both finished the season ranked in the top 20 nationally on floor and beam, respectively. Shields also qualified for the NCAA Championship in Cleveland, Ohio, in the all-around.
Graba was named Auburn head coach on August 16, 2010. He came to The Plains after spending five years as an assistant coach at Utah. While with the Utes, he was named the 2009 West Region Assistant Coach of the Year while coaching bars, collaborating on floor routines and serving as the recruiting coordinator.
During his first four years as an assistant, Utah finished as the NCAA runner-up three times and placed third once. Graba has also coached nine NCAA All-American gymnasts to 20 All-America performances.
As Utah's bars coach, he tutored Kristina Baskett to a 2006 NCAA uneven bars title as a freshman in his first trip to the NCAA Championships. He has also guided nine gymnasts to qualify for the uneven bars finals and has seen five turn in top 5 finishes.
Under Graba's leadership, Utah received the highest bars score in the preliminary session of team competition at the NCAA Championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009. In 2006, Graba also helped the Utes post the best bars score in the Super Six.
Prior to his stint at Utah, Graba spent two years as an assistant coach at Utah State. In 2005, he coached the Aggies to their first Western Gymnastics Conference championship and their first regional appearance in three years. In addition to his coaching duties, he served as the head of recruiting and assisted with the strength and conditioning program.
From 1995-2003, Graba was the co-owner and head coach of Midwest Gymnastics Club in Arden Hills, Minn. He had three gymnasts qualify Elite in his last three years with the club and had several level 8, 9 and 10 regional and national competitors. Graba coached Ashley Mutchler to a first-place finish at both the 2003 American and U.S. Challenge/Classic meets in the Senior National Elite Division.
Graba's collegiate coaching career began at Hamline University from 1992-98. While in St. Paul, Minn., his highlights included six-consecutive trips to the Division III National Championships and a runner-up finish in 1996. Eleven of his gymnasts combined to win 26 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) All-America citations. He also coached more than 20 scholastic All-Americans.
In addition to coaching at Hamline, Graba was also the head coach at Flips Gymnastics Center in Minneapolis from 1988-95. While there, he coached level 10 gymnast Sarah Reiling-Hildebrand, who made the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving Teams.
From 1988-92, he coached at both North St. Paul High School and White Bear Lake High School. He served as an assistant coach at North St. Paul from 1988-90 and at White Bear Lake from 1990-91, before becoming the head coach at North St. Paul from 1991-92.
Graba is a native of Forest Lake, Minn., and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in economics and earned his M.B.A. from Salem International University in 2011. He and his wife, Bridget, have five children: Bryan, Jaymie, Jason, Kyla and Shayla.