Evin Graham, a Fort Myers High grad and former Green Wave boys basketball star, will take over the Island Coast program next season.
On Friday, the Gators hired the 23-year-old Graham, a two-time News-Press All-Area player of the year, following the exit of former coach Greg Coleman, who was hired at Lehigh.
The 2015 Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate was an assistant under his former high school coach Scott Guttery a season ago at Fort Myers. Graham played two years of college basketball at Division I Jacksonville and finished his career at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic.
It will be the first head coaching opportunity for the Fort Myers native.
“I knew I wanted to coach,” Graham said. “To get started this early is pretty good. I’m looking toward getting experience and working my way up. Being right out of school, this will be good for me.”
Graham currently teaches United States history at Oak Hammock Middle School. He says he will transfer to Island Coast at the beginning of next school year and plans to teach a social science.
A 2011 Fort Myers graduate, the 6-foot-3 Graham left the program with 1,530 points, 649 rebounds, 471 assists and 299 steals. He helped guide the Green Wave to four district titles, one region championship and a state championship in 2010.
He believes the transition to coaching at a young age will provide a connection to his players.
“Being that I’m younger, I can be on the court a little bit more and demonstrate a little more physically than just verbally instructing this or that. That’s key.”
Graham said he takes with him a great deal of experience from his year on the bench with Guttery.
“Coach Guttery runs one of the most organized programs I’ve ever seen,” Graham said. “You learn a lot more from him than just the Xs and Os. I learned how to run a program at a higher level.”
Graham said he hopes to develop the Gators into one of the better programs in Southwest Florida.
“I want to build them up to be one of the best teams in the area consistently,” he said.