MARSHALL, Texas – East Texas Baptist University head volleyball coach Keely Peterson has hired East Texas native and former NCAA Division I player Darby Graff as an assistant coach. Graff played at Texas A&M University and Arkansas State University, advancing to the NCAA Tournament with both programs
Graff’s NCAA Division I volleyball playing experience and East Texas ties will immediately assist Peterson in recruiting. Graff is from Hallsville, Texas, and played at Hallsville High School where she won numerous awards. She was also an All-Sun Belt Conference second-team member and on the AVCA All-Southwest Region honorable mention team during her time at Arkansas State.
“I am excited to add Darby to our coaching staff. She is a native of East Texas and brings a wealth of knowledge of the game of volleyball,” says head coach Keely Peterson. “Darby will have the opportunity to be a great role model for our athletes and I can’t wait to have her in the gym with our team.”
Playing three seasons at Texas A&M in the Southeastern Conference, Graff redshirted her first season in 2012. She was then on the All-SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2013 and 2014, graduating early with a degree in University Studies with a sports leadership concentration. She hit .339 overall in 2014 and helped the Aggies to two NCAA Tournament appearances both seasons she played.
“This is such an honor to start my coaching career here in East Texas. I enjoyed my playing career at Texas A&M, Arkansas State, and Hallsville High School and now I can take the knowledge I learned and apply it to the student-athletes here at ETBU while coaching the sport I love. An added bonus is I also will be able to be around family,” says Graff.
After graduating early, Graff transferred to Arkansas State University where she played the 2015 season while working on a master’s degree. Her talents in that one year helped the Wolves to a 28-2 record going 16-0 in the Sun Belt Conference to win the conference championship. The Wolves received a spot in the NCAA Tournament in 2015. That season also featured a 24-match winning streak and the Wolves being nationally ranked.
Graff finished the 2015 season with 309 kills averaging 3.03 kills per set. She hit .355 overall on the right side recording 71 blocks. She played in 29 matches leading the Sun Belt Conference in hitting percentage which was 66th in the nation. For her play, she was named All-Sun Belt Conference second-team and to the AVCA All-Southwest Region honorable mention team. Posting career highs in her final season, she had 19 kills vs. Florida Gulf Coast and 10 blocks against Appalachian State.
In high school, Graff was a standout athlete at Hallsville and one of the best to come out of the East Texas area. She was a two-time Texas Sports Writers Association All-State player being named to the first-team in her senior season. The three-year starter helped Hallsville to a 93-24 record in that time and was a three-time member of the All-East Texas team. She was also the top hitter in the area in her junior and senior seasons and the newcomer of the year as a sophomore. The two-time District 14-4A MVP was unanimously given the award in her senior season and was also the district’s newcomer of the year in 2009 as a sophomore.
Graff also has ties to ETBU as both of her parents are graduates of ETBU. Her father played baseball and her mother was a cheerleader. Her brother is currently freshman at ETBU.
Peterson now has her coaching staff complete with Graff as an assistant and former player, Kayla Green, as a graduate assistant.
NCAA Division I Playing Awards
- Sun Belt Conference 2nd team (2015)
- AVCA Southwest Region honorable mention (2015)
- Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week (2015)
- SEC Academic Honor Roll (2013, 2014)
- Arkansas State (2015)
- Texas A&M (2012, 2013, 2014)
High School Awards
- Texas State Sports Writers Association All-State first-team (2011)
- Texas State Sports Writers Association All-Stat third-team (2010)
- District 14-4A MVP (2011, 2010) – unanimous in 2011
- District 14-4A Newcomer of the Year (2009)
- All-East Texas Team (2009, 2010, 2011)
- All-East Texas Top Hitter (2010, 2011)
- All-East Texas Newcomer of the Year (2009)
- AVCA Under Armour All-America Watch List (2011)
- Two-time State Champion – high jump