Jeff Graba has set a high bar for himself in his first two years on the Utah staff. Graba (pronounced gray-ba) has already produced an NCAA champion and five All-Americans with seven All-America awards.
In his first trip to the NCAA Championships, Graba coached then-freshman Kristina Baskett to Utah's first NCAA uneven bar title in seven years. Three of his gymnasts won All-America honors that year and four Utes did so in 2007. In both 2006 and 2007, three Utes competed in NCAA individual finals.
In fact, his entire bars team has come up big at the national championships. In both 2006 and 2007, Utah received the highest bar score on the opening night of competition. In 2006, the Utes were tied for third place heading into bars, which was their final event. Utah secured a spot in the next night's Super Six by unleashing the best bar score of the session. Baskett, Ashley Postell and Nicolle Ford all advanced to the NCAA individual event finals, where Baskett tied for first, Postell placed fifth and Ford sixth.
Last year, Utah posted a 49.50 on bars during the first round of the NCAA Championships, which was the best bar score of the evening session, and tied for Utah's best event score for the entire championships. Baskett and Postell again qualified for event finals, as did freshman Daria Bijak. Jessica Duke won second-team All-America honors.
Graba also assists with the Utah floor exercise routines and is in his first year as Utah's recruiting coordinator.
He came to Utah after a two-year stint at Utah State. In his final season in Logan, Graba helped coach the 2005 Aggies to their first Western Gymnastics Conference championship and their first regional appearance in three years. In addition to coaching, he served as the lead recruiter and assisted with the strength and conditioning program.
From 1995-2003, Graba was the co-owner and head coach of Midwest Gymnastics Club in Arden Hills, Minn. Three of his gymnasts qualified Elite in his last three years with the club. Graba coached Ashley Mutchler to a first-place finish at both the 2003 American and U.S. Challenge/Classic meets in the Senior National Elite Division. Many of his club gymnasts qualified for the Level 9 and 10 Junior Olympic National Championships, as well.
His collegiate experience previous to his USU tenure was as an assistant women's gymnastics coach at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., from 1992-98. Highlights there included six straight trips to the Division III national championships and a runner-up finish in 1996. Eleven of his gymnasts combined to win 26 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association All-America citations. He also coached more than 20 scholastic All-Americans.
During part of his term at Hamline, Graba was also coaching at Flips Gymnastics Center (1988-95) in Minneapolis. There, he coached Level 10 gymnast Sarah Reiling-Hildebrand, who made the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving Teams.
From 1988-91, he also coached at both North St. Paul High School (1988-92) and White Bear Lake High School (1990-91). He was the head coach at North St. Paul High from 1991-92.
The Minneapolis native graduated from Minnesota in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He and his wife Bridget, who works in the Utah men's basketball office, have five children: Bryan, Jaymie, Jason, Kyla and Shayla.
*Subject to change due to guest's busy schedule