Andover Baseball Head Coach Kevin Graber has been with the team for seven years and is entering his sixth season as Head Coach. Graber, who brings valuable experience from his collegiate and professional playing career, has built Andover into a perennial powerhouse in the Central New England Prep School Baseball League (CNEPSBL) and has won three CNEPSBL Championships in his tenure.
In college, Graber played baseball at Winthrop University until he transferred to The College of Saint Rose. His playing career has taken him to the Greater Brisbane League in Australia, the North Central League in Minnesota and the Northeast League, where he was a member of the Adirondack Lumberjacks.
Graber then went on to manage and coach numerous college and minor league teams. He coached at the University of West Alabama, Lassen College, Amherst College and Riverland Community College before arriving at Andover.
Graber focuses on getting to know and improving the skills of individual players.
Co-Captain John Festa ’15 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “There are great coaches who know how to coach a team, but [Graber] knows how to coach each player specifically.”
Graber encourages the team to become as connected as possible. He organizes and hosts events that foster team chemistry. Graber consistently organizes team dinners and post-practice s’mores roasts at his house.
During practices, Graber adheres to a schedule to maximize the benefits in the limited timeframe. He emphasizes both team and individual defensive drills, and hitting and baserunning drills conclude the practices.
Graber leads by example. “[Graber] gets involved in each drill. He takes reps with us to show us exactly how each technique should be done,” said Festa.
Graber’s lessons extend beyond the diamond. Co-Captain Matt Hosman ’15 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The most valuable lesson I have learned from [Graber] is respect. Respect your teammates, opponents, umpires, coaches and most importantly, the game of baseball.”
Not only does Graber want his players to respect the game, but he also wants them to be grateful for their opportunity to play baseball. Hosman said, “The game can be taken away from you at any second, so [Graber] really makes us seize the moment we are in and play every game and practice like it could be our last.”
Graber expects that all players bring their best effort to every practice and game and that they play the game with energy and enthusiasm.
Graber said, “Without fail, one of the quickest ways a player impacts a team is with his own work ethic. Good teammates consistently invite, inspire, and sometimes implore others to greatness.”
Graber molds his players into a motivated and cohesive team, and the results speak for themselves. Festa said, “[Graber] is on a completely different level than any other coach I’ve had.”