Today, a press conference welcomed recently appointed Head Men’s Basketball Coach Sam Hargraves and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Brittany Berry.
“It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Coach Brittany Berry as our new women’s basketball coach,” Athletic Director Ryan Shockey said. “She’s been with our staff for the last two seasons, and she’s been mentoring our young women basketball players through her character, leadership and positive attitude. We’re excited to see what the future holds for our women’s basketball program; it’s undeniable they will be able to accomplish great things under her direction.
“I also have the pleasure to introduce Sam Hargraves as the new head men’s basketball coach. Coach Hargraves has been a positive coaching fixture in college basketball in the state of Michigan for the majority of his coaching tenure. Through the interview process, it became apparent to both Coach Hargraves and me that The University of Olivet was a great fit for each other. We’re excited about the new era of men’s basketball under his leadership. I know that together we can accomplish great things.”
Coach Hargraves was named head men’s basketball coach on March 29. He came to Olivet after serving as the head men’s basketball coach at Alma College for the last eight seasons. His tenure was highlighted by the Scots’ trip to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 in 2015-16, where they finished the season ranked No. 6 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Coach Hargraves played three years of varsity basketball at Calvin College.
“My number one goal is always that my players get a diploma and graduate,” Coach Hargraves emphasized. “That is always the number one thing and always should be. I’m looking for responsible students and responsible citizens on campus. Beyond that, this may sound cliché, but coaches are just trying to make an excellent product and something that everyone can be proud of.
“I’m very process-oriented and enjoy recruiting kids who are going to be ‘team first’ kind of players. Winning is really fun and the only way you do that is from playing together and playing unselfishly. Those are the goals, but what everyone always wants to hear is how many games you think you’re going to win. If we focus on that stuff, I always believe that the winning will take care of itself.”
Coach Berry was named head women’s basketball coach on March 27. She had been serving as the interim coach since January 2019. Prior to joining Olivet’s staff in 2017, she served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Hope College during the 2016-17 season. Before embarking on her coaching career, Coach Berry played four years of basketball for the Flying Dutch and was a two-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) selection.
Coach Berry shared similar goals to Coach Hargraves’s mission. “We want to win championships, but I think that’s a given,” she said. “I really want to develop our females. I want to put strong female leaders into the workforce when they leave. I think it’s super critical that I’m a role model for them so that they can see that you can be in a position of power and that other young girls want to see women in those positions. I hope that through the process of sports and DIII athletics I can help develop those future leaders. All of the females on our team are capable of that because they’re all strong, powerful individuals.”
Both coaches have a unique combination of experience as Division III student-athletes and coaches in the MIAA. They each shared what makes the conference and The University of Olivet so special.
“The MIAA is the oldest conference, ever, really,” Coach Hargraves said. “That’s incredible. The tradition of the members stands out. Even though they’re smaller, you see school spirit more at MIAA colleges than other places. There is just great history in this conference, and Michigan is my home state. You wrap all that together and I love it. I just love it — everything about it.”
“I love the diversity and inclusion of Olivet and the mission of social justice and equality for everybody,” Coach Berry said. “That’s super important to me. The second I arrived on campus I knew I was in my comfort zone. I really bought into that mission of OC — the idea of having an equal arena for everybody and a community that is diverse. That’s super exciting; that’s realistic to the world, and I like that worldview.”
Visit The University of Olivet to learn more about the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or email@example.com with questions. Check out OlivetComets.com for more Comet athletics news and updates.