Rebound season


Rob Graner, former basketball coach, is back on the courts. After coaching for 23 years, he took a four-year break and is back, refreshed and ready to lead the girls’ varsity team.  

“We are just trying to change the whole environment [and] get the girls a little more excited about basketball,” Graner said.  

Taking time off from coaching in 2013 and seeing the basketball program steer into a different direction did not sit well with him. One of his first objectives is to renew the environment he had established in his previous years coaching. Graner’s many years of experience at Etowah, teaching and coaching, set him apart from other coaches because he is familiar with the history of Etowah’s basketball program.  

“Knowing the history of our program is something I am very proud of, and I want to see it kind of get back up on the level where it should be,” Graner said. 

Graner believes his players are capable of great things on and off the courts, so he holds the girls accountable for how they play on game days and at practices. 

“We have had to rethink and try to reprogram our girls to learn how to win again,” Graner said. 

Graner’s favorite part about coaching the girls has been seeing the different personalities on the team work together. Another reward of coaching is watching the players become adults and build their character. Graner has been coaching and teaching long enough to see his players and students become exceptional people as they reach adulthood.  

“Good character is a huge part about athletics, something they can carry for the rest of their lives,” Graner said.  

The team’s main goals for this season are to have a better record and create a strong bond. The Lady Eagles want to show they can be competitive when it gets tough. The girls are also striving to make the state playoffs and win at least half of their games. 

“Last year, a lot of times they just kind of gave up, and that’s not what you do in sports. That’s a part of the culture I have had to change,” Graner said.  

Graner’s competitive nature enables him to put in many hours on and off the courts. He spends time outside of the practices breaking down film, scouting for the opponents, and figuring out different strategies. The time between games is short since there are three games a week, so Graner’s work outside of practice helps him keep the girls prepared. 

“That is one of the things I really do take pride in: that my team is going to be prepared, and they are going to know their opponent,” Graner said.  

Good luck to the Lady Eagles this year as they work toward excellence under the leadership of Coach Graner.